IDF spokesperson, Brigadier General Daniel Hagari, reported this evening at 18:00 that "The IDF officially confirms that there are captives and prisoners of war taken by Hamas. There are also casualties among IDF soldiers. We do not have an exact number yet – we are at war.
"Dozens of militants infiltrated numerous dryland points, and there was also a naval infiltration point in Zikim. There are numerous breaches in the fence. We are engaged in combat in 22 locations. There is no settlement where we do not have forces, in all the settlements. Some settlements have been cleared, but additional sweeps are needed before declaring them secure."
Hostages from Ofakim and Be'eri
"In Ofakim and Be'eri, there are incidents where hostages have been taken. Special forces with senior commanders are operating in these areas, and combat is ongoing. There are casualties, including casualties among IDF soldiers; we will provide the exact numbers when available. We have combat management over the Gaza devision, including support from combat helicopters, and we are in control there.
"We are conducting blockades in coordination with the Israel Police in all areas. There are airstrikes in several locations using UAVs (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles), surveillance, and combat aircraft striking the border. Hundreds of such strikes have been carried out – resulting in hundreds of casualties, including many militants. The primary effort is to eliminate all militants at the border and anyone attempting to return to the Gaza Strip. First, we deal with threats from the air, and then with heavy ground equipment. There is a lot of misinformation – they claimed that Nimrod Aloni was kidnapped, which is not true. They claimed that Avi Rozenfeld was kidnapped, which is also not true.
"Our mission now is to eliminate all the militants and cleanse all the settlements. Until then, continue to stay in your homes in the envelope communities. The wide-scale reserve call-up has begun – there are four brigades that we are immediately deploying to Gaza. 31 battalions are already in the border region and in the south. We are also deploying tanks to the Gaza Strip."
Ready for any event in the north
"In the Northern Command, we are prepared and on high alert. Currently, there are no events there, but we are ready for any eventuality. Anyone who attacks us in the entire northern area will pay a very heavy price. Our focus is on Gaza, but we have high readiness for any contingency, and we currently do not have such information. The IDF is targeting all Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad targets in the Gaza Strip. Wherever there are members of Hamas, they will be attacked; they have no immunity.
"There are also attacks on strategic targets. We are strengthening the Central Command with regional battalions and preparing for maintaining order. A thorough investigation will be conducted. Currently, we are focused on regaining control of the area, launching a widespread offensive, and, above all, addressing the situation in the Gaza envelope. Significant resilience is required for the citizens of the State of Israel, with an emphasis on those in the Gaza envelope. These are tough hours of combat, but at their conclusion, we will achieve full security in the Gaza envelope."