israel says it is stepping up war against hamas in gaza

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said 15 Israeli soldiers had been killed since Friday, but vowed to keep fighting.

Israeli leaders vowed on Sunday to pursue their war against Hamas, even as Israel’s own casualties mounted, with 15 soldiers reported killed in the Gaza Strip since Friday.

“The war is exacting a very heavy cost from us,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told Israelis. “However, we have no choice but to continue to fight.” All but one of the 15 soldier deaths were on Friday and Saturday.

Mr. Netanyahu said Israel was intensifying its campaign in Gaza. About 200 targets were hit over a 24-hour period, according to the military.

Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari, the chief military spokesman, said Saturday that soldiers were fighting in a “dense area” above ground in southern Gaza’s largest city, Khan Younis, and that more forces would join a division that was working underground there to destroy tunnels operated by Hamas. Fighting in the north, where Israel says it has gained control of what it described as Hamas strongholds, has also intensified, Admiral Hagari said.

Also on Sunday, the Gaza Health Ministry said dozens of people were killed in airstrikes in Al Maghazi, a neighborhood in central Gaza.

Ministry officials blamed Israeli airstrikes for the deaths. The Israeli military said it was reviewing.

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