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The Latest | Netanyahu dissolves War Cabinet that was steering war in Gaza, Israeli officials say

Israeli officials say Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has dissolved the influential War Cabinet that was tasked with steering the war in Gaza.

The War Cabinet was dissolved following the departure from the government of Benny Gantz, an opposition lawmaker who had joined the coalition in the early days of the war. He had demanded that a small Cabinet be formed as a way to sideline far-right lawmakers in Netanyahu’s government. Gantz, Netanyahu and Defense Minister Yoav Gallant were its members and they made key decisions together throughout the war.

The officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the change with the media, said Monday that going forward Netanyahu would hold smaller forums with some of his government members for sensitive issues.

Gantz, a longtime political rival of Netanyahu’s, joined the government as a show of unity after Hamas’ Oct. 7 attack on southern Israel. He left the government earlier this month, citing frustration with Netanyahu’s handling of the war.

Critics say Netanyahu’s wartime decision-making has been influenced by ultranationalists in his government who oppose a deal that would bring about a cease-fire in exchange for the release of hostages. They have voiced support for the “voluntary migration” of Palestinians from the Gaza Strip and reoccupying the territory.

Netanyahu denies the accusations and says he has the country’s best interests in mind.

Israel’s war against Hamas in Gaza has killed more than 37,100 people, according to Gaza’s Health Ministry, which does not distinguish between combatants and civilians in its count.

Israel launched the war after Hamas’ Oct. 7 attack, in which militants stormed into southern Israel, killed some 1,200 people — mostly civilians — and abducted about 250.


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— Israel’s army says it will pause daytime fighting along a route in southern Gaza to help flow of aid

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Follow news agencies’s coverage of the war in Gaza at https://apnews.com/hub/israel-hamas-war

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