Defeat of Hamas in Gaza still far away: IDF Chief

IDF Chief Herzi HaLevi says that the complete eradication of the Hamas terror group in the Gaza Strip is not yet on the horizon.

By World Israel News Staff

The Israeli army has made major strides towards its goal of destroying the Hamas terror organization and ousting it from power in the Gaza Strip, but a decisive victory is not yet on the horizon, said IDF Chief of Staff Herzi HaLevi.

“We have been fighting for about four months and there is still a way to go,” said HaLevi during a press conference in southern Israel, near the Gaza border, on Tuesday afternoon.

HaLevi referenced the challenges of urban warfare, stating that the Israeli army had not engaged in this type of house-to-house combat in years. The subterranean tunnels built by Hamas also pose a unique challenge, he said.

“IDF soldiers are dealing with this with great success and the military achievements are extraordinary. Unfortunately, there is also a price in casualties,” he said.

In the Hamas stronghold of Khan Younes, HaLevi said, “we are reaching places that the enemy did not imagine we would reach, destroying all the strategic assets of Hamas in a city that was considered the terror capital of the organization.”

The IDF leader acknowledged increasing international pressure for a ceasefire, along with President Joe Biden’s calls for a six-week “pause” in the fighting in exchange for the release of Israelis currently held hostage in the Strip.

If fighting was stopped due to a hostage deal, HaLevi said that the army would “know how to return” to combat after the end of the pause, and successfully continue military operations targeting Hamas.

Speaking about the recent rescue of two hostages from the Strip, HaLevi stressed that the military is constantly attempting to extract kidnapped Israelis from the coastal enclave.

“Every week, we carry out special operations, while risking [soldiers’’] lives in complex conditions with great uncertainty, to try and return hostages home,” he said.

“This time we were successful. There were more operations that did not succeed or failed. We will not stop trying, and we will do it with great responsibility.”