Defense Minister Yoav Gallant says in a primetime press conference that the IDF is continuing to hit Hamas hard in the Strip and will also operate “soon” in the south of Gaza.
“We are in the second stage of the ground invasion, also operating in the east of the Strip,” he says. “Hamas has been hit hard, it’s losing tunnels, bunkers, posts,” and many of its senior commanders have been killed, Gallant adds.
“We are reaching all of the sites sensitive to Hamas and hitting them,” he says.
“With every passing day, there are fewer places for the Hamas terrorists to move around,” he says.
Those hiding out in the south of the Strip, where the IDF has yet to send in ground troops, “will feel this soon,” says Gallant.
The defense minister says he meets with families of hostages every week, and says there is no higher priority than to bring the hostages home.
“I think Hamas is playing with the emotions of the families and with the Israeli public,” he says, adding that the war cabinet is united in its determination to bring the hostages home.
He says: “What happened on October 7 is worse than any other phenomenon in the world in recent decades. That’s Hamas. And Hamas only understands force.” Hence the decision to go to war to destroy Hamas and get back the hostages is proving increasingly to be the right decision, he says.
Hamas is solely interested in survival now, he says.