Defense Minister Yoav Gallant declared Tuesday that the Israel Defense Forces are moving to an “all-out offensive” in the Gaza Strip, as sporadic clashes with Hamas terrorists in southern Israel continued for a fourth day.
“I have released all restrictions, we have regained control of the area, and we are moving to an all-out offensive,” Gallant said in a speech to troops along the Gaza border.
“You will have the ability to change reality here. You have seen the prices that are being paid, and you will come to see the change. Hamas wanted change in Gaza; It will change 180 degrees from what he thought,” he said.
“You will regret this moment; Gaza will never be what it was,” Gallant continued. “Whoever comes to behead, murder women, Holocaust survivors, we will eliminate them with all our strength and without concessions.”
The official said Israel has so far rejected Egypt’s efforts to mediate any kind of de-escalation, indicating it wants to deal a final blow to Hamas before considering the idea of a ceasefire.
Gallant also addressed the possibility of several months of fighting, stating that “we will return here to Be’eri in a few months, and the situation will be different. “We will resettle the kibbutz to its last meter.”
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reportedly told US President Joe Biden on Monday that Israel has no choice but to launch a ground operation against Hamas in Gaza.
“We have to go in. According to the Axios news site, we cannot negotiate now,” Netanyahu said. “We have to restore deterrence.” According to the report, which cited three American and Israeli sources, Biden did not try to change Netanyahu’s mind.
Shortly after Gallant’s intervention on Tuesday, the IDF’s chief spokesman, Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari, stated that killing senior Hamas officials is a top priority.
“We will not relent in our efforts to eliminate senior Hamas officials; it is an absolute priority,” Hagari declared at a press conference after Israeli strikes killed two senior Hamas officials on Monday night.
He said troops were still searching for terrorists in southern Israel following Hamas’ initial invasion on Saturday morning.
Throughout Tuesday, he said, one terrorist was killed near Sa’ad, four terrorists were killed near Zikim, two terrorists were killed near Mefalsim and two others were killed near Re’im.
“The directive to the forces is clear. Find the terrorists and destroy them,” Hagar said. “We are making a strong defense on the border. Today there were infiltration attempts, but the terrorists were eliminated before they reached the fence.”
Hagari also said that the bodies of 103 terrorists who died in clashes with troops were found in Kibbutz Be’eri alone. Terrorists at the kibbutz killed more than 100 Israelis.