Bengaluru (Karnataka) [India]: Israel's Counsel General to South India, Tammy Ben Haim, on Friday claimed that Hamas was abusing the Gaza Strip to destroy Israel and kill Jews, adding that military operations in the region are still underway as the terror group is still directing rocket fire towards his country.
"They don't have any honour for their own mosques, for their own religious institutions. They're using the whole of Gaza, using, maybe abusing is more the correct word, abusing the citizens and the infrastructure of Gaza and all the international aid given to them throughout the years for their terrorist purpose. And their main aim, and they say it loud and clear, is to destroy Israel and kill Jews, Israelis and everything," Ben Haim told media.
"And if somebody wasn't sure of it before or somebody thought that Israel might be exaggerating, we now see it. We've been in there for four months now, and they're still Hamas operatives. We're still finding weapons.
They're still able from time to time to fire RPGs or rockets at us. It's just astounding what they know to the detriment, obviously, of Israel and the people living in Israel, but also to the detriment of the people living in Gaza, to their own citizens," she added.
She stressed that Israel was not intent on launching a war on Hamas, adding that amid all the global reportage on the mounting civilian toll in the ongoing military operations in Gaza, her country and people were also suffering.
She affirmed that the aim of the ongoing offensive was to restore peace and bring all Israeli hostages back home safely.
"On October 6, the day before the horrid massacre of October 7, Israel wasn't at war with Hamas. We weren't planning to do anything with them. We left them to rule the Gaza Strip as they have been ruling since 2007. So again, we would like to reach that end again.
Israel isn't looking for war. We're prepared for war. And you can see that we're fighting it at great cost to Israel, to human life within Israel, and to the lives of our soldiers," the top Israeli diplomat said.
"We have over 300,000 people displaced. Our economy, obviously, is suffering, but we're willing to fight the war, and we know we will win it. But we're also looking for peace and we're looking to return these people home," she added.
The Israeli Consul General added that the forces were trying to destroy the Hamas-made tunnels in Gaza and were also in the process of negotiating a ceasefire of sorts to secure the return of the hostages.
"It's hard to believe, but we're already in our 126th day of this war...126 days since the October 7 massacre done to us by Hamas terrorists who crossed our borders. They crossed the border into Israel and carried out this surprise attack, killing over 1200 people.
They also took 240 people hostages back into Gaza. We have freed over 110 of them. But 136 more hostages are still left to be rescued from Hamas captivity," the Israeli diplomat said.
"The Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) personnel are still fighting in Gaza. They're still eliminating and destroying Hamas infrastructure, weapons, commanders and command centres. We're discovering more and more and more tunnels as the offensive goes on.
We're trying to close or destroy them. There were talks, there still are talks...hopefully, of getting to some sort of an agreement for some sort of a ceasefire for the return of the (remaining) hostages," she added.