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IDF Chief: We’ll Reach Hamas Leaders ‘Whether It Takes a Week or Months’

Israeli troops operating in the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip, Dec. 25, 2023. (Credit: IDF)

(JNS) The Israeli military will reach Hamas’s leadership in the Gaza Strip “whether it takes a week or months,” Israel Defense Forces Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Herzi Halevi vowed on Tuesday, Dec. 26 after visiting the Palestinian enclave.

The war against Hamas will “continue for many more months, and we will act in different ways—so that the achievement is preserved over time,” said Halevi. “There are no magic solutions, no shortcuts in the fundamental dismantling of a terror organization, but rather stubborn and resolute fighting, and we are very, very determined.

“We eliminated many terrorists and commanders, some of whom surrendered to our forces, and we took hundreds captive. We destroyed underground infrastructure and many weapons,” Halevi continued. “Now, we are focusing our efforts on the south of the Strip—Khan Yunis, the central camps and beyond, and we will continue both to maintain and deepen the achievement in the north of the Strip.”

Halevi added that Israel won’t permit a return to the pre-Oct. 7 security situation. “We will not allow such an event to recur.”

Israeli Air Force airstrikes continue, according to Halevi. “A building falls when it is an enemy target. A building falls when it poses a danger to our forces,” he said. “We are intensifying the military pressure in different ways, with cunning. This pressure allows the realization of the war goals—the dismantling of Hamas and the return of the captives.”

Earlier on Tuesday, Defense Minister Yoav Gallant briefed members of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee at the Defense Ministry in Tel Aviv.

“We are in a multi-front war. We are being attacked from seven different sectors—Gaza, Lebanon, Syria, Judea and Samaria, Iraq, Yemen and Iran,” he said. “We have responded and acted already in six of these sectors, and I say here in the most explicit way: Anyone who acts against us is a potential target, no one is immune.

“The State of Israel will know what to do. The defense establishment is prepared,” he warned. “The results in Gaza everyone sees and understands, especially Hamas, Iran and Hezbollah.

“I want to tell you that this is a long, hard war and there are prices—heavy prices—but its justification is the highest,” he added. “We were attacked brutally and barbarically in order to deter us from living here. We must make clear that anyone who makes such a move is decisively defeated. Whether it takes months or years, this matter must be finished.”

The IDF said on Wednesday morning that 200 terrorist targets were attacked over the past 24 hours across the Gaza Strip. Ground and aerial forces combined to eliminate terror cells in the Shejaiya area.

Red alert warnings for incoming rocket fire were heard in the Gaza border community of Nahal Oz on Wednesday morning, breaking 16 hours of silence in southern Israel.

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