Gallant: Rafah op will continue until Hamas rooted out or hostage deal reached

Emanuel (Mannie) Fabian is The Times of Israel's military correspondent

Illustrative: Defense Minister Yoav Gallant speaks with artillery forces on the Gaza border, across from Rafah, May 7, 2024. (Ariel Hermoni/Defense Ministry)
Illustrative: Defense Minister Yoav Gallant speaks with artillery forces on the Gaza border, across from Rafah, May 7, 2024. (Ariel Hermoni/Defense Ministry)

Visiting troops on the southern part of the Gaza border, Defense Minister Yoav Gallant vows that the operation in Rafah “will not stop until Hamas is eliminated in the area or the first hostage returns to Israel” — presumably meaning until a deal is reached and starts being implemented.

“From the Rafah area came the killers who went to Sufa, to Holit, and tried to attack Yated, Yevul, Naveh and other places. We attack and kill those who murdered our children, that should be well remembered,” says Gallant after meeting with artillery forces.

“Yesterday, I ordered the IDF to enter the Rafah area, seize 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,” he says.

“We are ready to make compromises in order to [release] hostages, but if this option is not available, we will deepen the operation, this will happen all over the Strip, in the south, in the center and in the north. Hamas only understands force, so we will intensify our action, and the military pressure will result in us crushing the Hamas organization,” Gallant adds.

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