Jerusalem: Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday called for Hamas militants to lay down their arms, saying the Palestinian Islamist group's end was near, as the war in the Gaza Strip raged more than two months after it began.

"The war is still ongoing but it is the beginning of the end of Hamas. I say to the Hamas terrorists: It's over. Don't die for (Yahya) Sinwar. Surrender now," Netanyahu said in a statement, referring to the chief of Hamas in the Gaza Strip.

"In the past few days, dozens of Hamas terrorists have surrendered to our forces," Netanyahu said.

The military has, however, not released proof of militants surrendering, and Hamas has rejected such claims.

Almost one month ago, Israel's Defence Minister Yoav Gallant said Hamas had "lost control" of


The militants late on Sunday boasted of success in their fight with Israeli forces in Gaza.

Izzat al-Rishq, a senior member of the Hamas political bureau, said history would "remember Gaza as the clearest of victories" for the Palestinian militants.

"The end of the occupation has begun in Gaza," Rishq said.

Hamas triggered the conflict with the deadliest-ever attack on Israel on October 7 in which it killed around 1,200 people, according to Israeli figures, and dragged around 240 hostages back to Gaza.

Israel has responded with a relentless military offensive that has reduced much of Gaza to rubble and killed at least 17,997 people, mostly women and children, according to the Hamas-run health ministry.

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