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Hamas will challenge Israel ‘for years’; Hezbollah ‘tying down’ Tel Aviv: US assessment

A US intelligence assessment has questioned Israel’s ability to eliminate Hamas, saying the Palestinian resistance group is likely to pose a “lingering” challenge to the occupying regime for years.

The 2024 Annual Threat Assessment, which was released on Monday, predicted that Israel would “struggle” to achieve its declared objective of “destroying Hamas” in its genocidal war on the Gaza Strip.

“Israel probably will face lingering armed resistance from Hamas for years to come, and the military will struggle to neutralize Hamas’s underground infrastructure,” the report said.

It also warned that the risk of an escalation of the Gaza war, which is now in its sixth month, “remains high.”

The Gaza onslaught is “posing a challenge” to America’s Arab partners because of growing public sentiment against both Israel and the United States caused by “the death and destruction in Gaza,” the assessment added.

It further predicted that “Israel will face mounting international pressure because of the dire humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip.”

Israel waged its brutal US-backed war on the besieged Gaza on October 7 after Hamas carried out Operation Al-Aqsa Storm against the usurping entity in retaliation for its intensified atrocities against the Palestinian people.

However, 158 days into the offensive, the Tel Aviv regime has failed to achieve its objectives of in the Gaza war despite killing at least 31,112 Palestinians, mostly women and children, and injuring more than 72,760 others.

Hezbollah operations meant ‘to tie down Israeli forces’

Additionally, the US assessment said that Lebanon’s Hezbollah resistance movement will continue its attacks on the Israeli-occupied territories throughout the Gaza war.

Hezbollah’s operations are meant “to tie down Israeli forces as they seek to eliminate Hamas in Gaza,” it added.

“Hezbollah is calibrating this pressure on Israel from the north while trying to avoid a broader war… Hezbollah’s leadership, though, probably will consider a range of retaliatory options depending on Israel’s actions in Lebanon during the upcoming year.”

The assessment also noted that Iran “did not orchestrate nor had foreknowledge” of Hamas’s October 7 operation.

Netanyahu’s rule ‘in jeopardy’

Furthermore, the assessment highlighted domestic pressures faced by Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu amid the Gaza war, saying that his hold on office “may be in jeopardy.”

“Distrust of Netanyahu’s ability to rule has deepened and broadened across the public from its already high levels before the war, and we expect large protests demanding his resignation and new elections,” it said.

CIA chief calls for Gaza ‘ceasefire’

Meanwhile, during a public testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee on Monday,Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) Director William Burns said that a ceasefire agreement in Gaza could be “the first step toward what might be more enduring arrangements over time.”

“The reality is that there are children who are starving. They’re malnourished as a result of the fact that humanitarian assistance can’t get to them. It’s very difficult to distribute humanitarian assistance effectively unless you have a ceasefire,” he noted.

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