With the start of the fifth day of the war in the south, IDF Spokesperson Daniel Hagari addressed the state of the forces in the field today (Wednesday) and activity against Hamas in the Gaza Strip.
"We are entering the fifth day of the war, the effort continues to protect the Perimeter and clear the area," Hagari said. "They didn't pass through the fence in the last two days, they were killed on the fence. Our forces are fighting with determination."
Regarding the strikes in the Gaza Strip, the IDF Spokesperson said that "We are striking intensively, there are thousands of arms. Our attack approach is attacking areas, unless we have intelligence location of senior leaders. We arrive in the area and take care of it with hundreds of weapons with all the intelligence we have in the area. We are carrying out the strikes wave after wave after wave. We destroyed cameras placed as a detection system for an aerial picture. We hit the places where it was in the Gaza Strip from the air. Yesterday night, we struck at Khan Younis, al-Furqan, Rimal, and Jabalia. The Navy struck at the Khan Younis anchorage and the Gaza anchorage."
"Wherever there are senior leaders - we strike with intensity"
He also addressed the elimination of Hamas' Economy Minister and Yahya Sinwar's colleague in the Hamas Political Office. "Wherever there are senior leaders, we strike with intensity. They were killed by an intense strike in a focused area," he said. "We are continuing the task of clearing the Perimeter, but in general, we counted the bodies of about a thousand terrorists in the Perimeter and there are hundreds more on the fence. This attests to the scope of the offensive on the Perimeter. They had equipment and were prepared to occupy. This is why there was a rapid counter-attack of the division, troop reinforcements, and air forces that drove them back."
According to him, "we are now encountering fragments of terrorists, it's those terrorists who didn't flee back to Gaza. They're in hiding places, in the Perimeter area. This is why the sweeps are with large forces. There are tens of thousands of soldiers on the Perimeter, it's spread out based on an area system. There are strips of clearing out the fighting in the area, and this is how we do it."
"Organizing the barrier"
Hagari also addressed the series of encounters with terrorists throughout the south. "In the last 24 hours, there were 18 terrorists killed in encounters. There were 2 encounters at Zikim, at Erez crossing one terrorist was killed by a tank, at the levels, a force led by Battalion 101 commander took out two terrorists," he said. "We are organizing the barrier. We're doing it with tanks, ships, special forces. The ships are doing a significant job, we took out a diver who tried to infiltrate over the last 24 hours. Hamas did not manage to secure an achievement from the sea until now."
Strikes in Gaza. (IDF Spokesperson)
Hagari clarified that "we are on high alert in all the sectors. The IDF is carrying out an offensive in Gaza, clearing out the Perimeter area. We're controlling the area in Judea and Samaria so that there's no casualties, disturbances. On the Lebanese border, wherever there's an incident there's an immediate attack on the border and also with the border with Syria, we're reacting to everything immediately. That's five areas in which we are acting and operating quickly."
On the tension in the north and the fire from Lebanon and Syria, Hagari said: "We've spread out many forces at the front line in Northern Command. There is not a settlement not reinforced with IDF forces. Every action whether in Lebanon or Syria, there's a rapid response of the IDF. We have no casualties from the anti-tank fire, we responded with attack helicopters. Yesterday, the mortar fire. Throughout the country, we're reinforcing with thousands of weapons."
"Returning the missing - a mission of the highest priority"
"On the subject of the fallen, as of now 161 families were informed of death. On the subject of the missing, we are full partners in this matter. We are in an expanded effort commanded by Maj.-Gens Lior Carmeli and Nitzan Alon. This is a mission of highest priority for us. The process of identifying bodies needs to be quick and precise. The aerial defense system works excellent, defense is not hermetic. The instructions save lives, this is very important. The border is not hermetic and the interceptions are not hermetic."
On protecting the residents of the Gaza Strip: "The mission of evacuating the residents of the settlements next to the fence was completed. There is no settlement without an IDF force. It's happening through Southern Command. Yesterday, we introduced international reporters and Israeli media into this area. This has very great importance. We strengthened the ability to introduce reporters and government officials into this area."
Hagari also responded to the speech by President Joe Biden and said that "the American President gave a powerful speech yesterday, already after him we saw a plane come here. A plane with advanced ammunition landed at Nevatim base. The Chief of Staff is in ongoing contact with the Joint Chiefs and CENTCOM. As we said, there's already one aircraft carrier ready for action in the area and there's another one which I will update on later. This thing looks at the whole Middle East, it creates regional deterrence."
"Regarding equipment, we are attentive to the public. We give priority to what's in the Perimeter and those in the combat zone. This is the urgent thing and after this everything else. We are in touch with the Defense Ministry, there are enormous gestures they want to make towards the IDF. Ultimately, we want to provide the troops with proper equipment, so we will therefore handle this with care and responsibility."
"Yesterday was an excellent example of the challenging reality we are in. There were strikes in Syria, Lebanon, Gaza, and anti-terror actions," he said. "All this shows our ability to act everywhere and respond everywhere. This shows our readiness. We are not about to stop. To the contrary, we're about to intensify."