Gallant says IDF ‘advancing’ toward defeating Hamas; ‘thousands of terrorists eliminated’

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

Defense Minister Yoav Gallant speaks to elite Air Force soldiers at the Palmachim airbase, October 31, 2023. (Ariel Hermoni/Defense Ministry)
Defense Minister Yoav Gallant speaks to elite Air Force soldiers at the Palmachim airbase, October 31, 2023. (Ariel Hermoni/Defense Ministry)

Defense Minister Yoav Gallant in a press conference says the military is progressing toward the goal of eliminating the Hamas terror group.

He says the war is exacting “a heavy price” and refers to the soldiers who have fallen as “all of our children.”

Israel “must hit the enemy for the sake of those who have fallen, for the sake of the living, for the people of Israel and for the State of Israel,” he says.

“Fierce battles are taking place in Gaza. The IDF is advancing on the road to defeating Hamas,” Gallant says. “The war is progressing according to the objectives.”

“Hamas is suffering severe blows,” he says.

“More than 10,000 munitions were dropped on Gaza City, thousands of targets were hit, thousands of sites were destroyed, thousands of terrorists were eliminated,” Gallant adds.

He says IDF soldiers are encountering Hamas gunmen emerging from tunnels, hospitals and schools.

He vows that Israel “won’t stop until we get to all the terrorists, of all ranks.”

“The enemy has only two choices — to die or surrender unconditionally,” he says.

He repeats that Israel is “not interested” in a wider war, but is ready on every front, with the Air Force “ready for any mission.”

He says he has absolute confidence in IDF Chief of Staff Herzi Halevi.

He says the defense ministers overseas with whom he is in contact recognize that Israel is fighting on the front line of the free world against the axis of evil.

He empathizes with the families of the thousands of soldiers in Gaza, saying, “I know how you are feeling,” and promises the families of the hostages, “We have not forgotten; we are determined to bring them home.”

Taking questions, he is asked whether Hamas leaders and gunmen might be trying to leave Gaza in the ambulances evacuating the wounded, and says he is confident in the Egyptian checking procedure at the Strip’s southern border.

Asked about the delayed start of the ground offensive, a possible time limit for the war, and the pressures of global opinion, Gallant replies: “The ground offensive began when the time was ripe… This is a war of no choice. We must win the war, whatever the price, however long it takes. Even if this does not find favor with some other countries, we will continue until we defeat Hamas.”

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