Halevi: Israel is approaching the point 'where we can say we have dismantled the Rafah Brigade'

Israel's chief of staff, Herzi Halevi, says Israel is "approaching the point" where it can be said to have smashed Hamas's Rafah Brigade.

"It has been defeated not in the sense that there are no more terrorists, but in the sense that it can no longer function as a fighting unit," Halevi said during an assessment of the situation in the area in the southern Gaza Strip.

His assessment comes a day after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the current phase of fighting against Hamas in Gaza was ending, setting the stage for Israel to send more troops to its northern border to counter the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah.

His comments threatened to further escalate tensions between Israel and Hezbollah at a time when they appear to be edging closer to war.

Netanyahu also signaled that there is no end in sight to the bitter war in Gaza.

The Israeli leader said in a TV interview that while the army is close to ending the ongoing ground offensive in Rafah, that would not mean the war against Hamas is over.

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