Israel open to 'tactical little pauses' in Gaza fighting, but no ceasefire: Benjamin Netanyahu

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Washington: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Monday that Israel would consider "tactical little pauses" in Gaza fighting to facilitate the entry of humanitarian aid or allow the exit of hostages held by Hamas militants.

But the Israeli leader reiterated his country's rejection of a ceasefire without the release of all people being held captive in the Hamas-ruled Palestinian enclave.

Netanyahu made the comments in a US television interview during which he was asked who should govern Gaza after the fighting is over.

"I think Israel will for an indefinite period have the overall security responsibility because we've seen what happens when we don't have that security responsibility," Netanyahu told ABC News.

Netanyahu and US President Joe Biden had discussed the potential for "tactical pauses" in their latest phone call, the White House said on Monday.

On Tuesday, White House spokesman John Kirby noted Netanyahu's comments to ABC on the possible pauses, telling MSNBC in an interview: "We're going to keep talking to him about this and, as appropriate, we'll see what we can do to help put them in place."

Israel launched an air and ground offensive against Hamas after the militant group carried out a deadly gun rampage in southern Israel last month, killing 1,400 people and taking 240 others hostage. Israeli bombardment has killed at least 10,000 in Gaza, according to the enclave's health authorities.

Both Israel and Hamas have rebuffed mounting international pressure for a ceasefire. Israel says Hamas should release the hostages first; Hamas says it will not free them or stop fighting while Gaza is under assault.

Asked if he was open to a humanitarian pause in Gaza, Netanyahu said: "Well, there'll be no ceasefire, no general ceasefire in Gaza without the release of our hostages."

He added: "As far as tactical little pauses - an hour here, an hour there - we've had them before. I suppose we'll check the circumstances, to enable goods, humanitarian goods, to come in, or our hostages, individual hostages, to leave."

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