Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel visited his country’s troops in the Gaza Strip on Sunday, three days into a four-day pause in fighting there, and vowed that “we are continuing until the end — until victory.”
“Nothing will stop us,” he said in a video statement in which he wore protective gear and was surrounded by Israeli soldiers.
It was not immediately clear exactly when Mr. Netanyahu conducted his visit — information about the trip was withheld by the government until he had exited the Palestinian enclave — or precisely where he was, although he most likely traveled to the northern part of Gaza Strip, where the Israeli military has established control.
The trip was Mr. Netanyahu’s first to Gaza since the Israeli ground invasion began almost a month ago, according to officials. Those who traveled with him included his national security adviser, Tzachi Hanegbi; his military secretary, Maj. Gen. Avi Gil; and the Israeli military’s deputy chief of staff, Maj. Gen. Amir Baram.
Photographs released by the Israeli government showed Mr. Netanyahu — wearing a T-shirt, jeans and a khaki flak jacket and helmet — looking at a map, consulting with commanders and standing just inside a tunnel that his office said the Israeli military had recently exposed.
The pause, which began on Friday, is part of a deal that includes the release by Hamas of at least 50 Israeli hostages in exchange for at least 150 Palestinian prisoners and increased aid for Gaza. Israel has offered to extend the pause by one day for every additional 10 hostages released. Hamas has not publicly responded to the proposition.
“We are making every effort to bring back our hostages and eventually we will return them all,” Mr. Netanyahu said. Israeli officials have said about 240 people were taken to Gaza as hostages by Hamas and its allies on Oct. 7 in an attack that also killed about 1,200 people.
Some analysts have argued that the longer the cease-fire, the harder it may be for Israel to go back to fighting. But the prime minister emphasized that rooting out Hamas remained a central objective for Israel.
“We have three goals in this war: Eliminate Hamas, return all of our hostages and ensure that Gaza will not go back to being a threat to the state of Israel,” he said.
He added: “We are convinced that we have the force, the strength, the will and the determination to achieve all of our goals for the war.”