Israel’s new war cabinet vows to wipe Hamas off the earth

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu forged an emergency government on Wednesday (October 11) to direct war against Hamas, and his defence minister vowed to wipe the Palestinian militant group “off the face of the earth” over its deadly weekend attack.

Islamist Hamas gunmen invaded Israel from the Gaza Strip on Saturday in a surprise assault that killed at least 1,200 people, the deadliest Palestinian militant attack in Israeli history.

Israel has responded with a massive bombardment of Gaza that has killed 1,055 and deployed thousands of troops around the enclave amid growing expectations it will launch a ground invasion to destroy Hamas.

In a joint statement, Netanyahu and former defence chief and centrist opposition party leader Benny Gantz said they had agreed to form an emergency government comprising the two leaders and Defence Minister Yoav Gallant.

Gallant, the defence minister, said: “We will wipe this thing called Hamas, ISIS-Gaza, off the face of the earth. It will cease to exist.”

Gantz, a former Israeli defence chief and general, said it was a time of war, and to join together.

During the fighting with Hamas in Gaza, the emergency government will not take up any unrelated policy or laws, Netanyahu and Gantz said in their joint statement.

Opposition leader Yair Lapid was not expected to join the emergency government at this stage.

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