Israel-Gaza War

Gallant: Rafah operation will continue until Hamas presence is eliminated or hostage deal reached

This statement comes on the heels of Prime Minister Netanyahu's statement regarding the purpose of the operation,

Gallant talks to the troops. (Photo: Ariel Hermoni, Defense Ministry)

Defense Minister Gallant gave a statement to an artillery battery near the Rafah area today (Tuesday), addressing the goals of the current Rafah operation.

In his statement, he explained how the operation is a means of securing a hostage deal:

"Yesterday, I directed the IDF to enter the Rafah area, take the crossing, and carry out its missions. This operation will continue until we eliminate Hamas in the Rafah area and the entire Gaza Strip, or until the first hostage returns.

"We are willing to make compromises in order to bring back hostages, but if that option is removed, we will go on and ‘deepen’ the operation- this will happen all over the [Gaza] Strip - in the south, in the center and in the north. Hamas only responds to force, so we will intensify our actions, and the military pressure will result in us crushing the Hamas [terrorist] organization."

Prime Minister Netanyahu also published a statement today, reiterating the government's commitment to both returning the hostages and destroying Hamas' political and military capabilities.

The Prime Minister said that the government unanimously confirmed that Hamas' proposal is very far from Israel's necessary demands. Nevertheless, he also said that the lower level delegation sent to Cairo was instructed to insist on both the release of the hostages and the conditions vital to Israeli security.

Regarding the Rafah operation, Netanyahu said that "the seizure of the crossing of Rafah today is a very important step - an important step on the path to destroying Hamas' remaining military capabilities, including eliminating the four terror battalions in Rafah, and an important step in damaging Hamas' governmental capabilities, as since this morning, we denied Hamas a crossing point which was vital for establishing its regime of terror in the Strip."

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