Gallant says no legitimacy to quit fighting, claims Hamas losing power, support

Defense Minister Yoav Gallant says it would be “illegitimate” for Israel to halt its offensive aimed at toppling the Hamas terror group.

“There is only one legitimate thing: to defeat Hamas… and bring home the hostages,” he says, at a press conference alongside Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Minister Benny Gantz.

“There is no more justified war than this,” Gallant says. “We are fighting a war of no choice, because if we do not end it with victory, our lives in this region will not be lives,” he says.

Speaking after the IDF updated its death toll since the start of the ground offensive to 82, Gallant mourns the fallen soldiers, many of whom he says he knew personally.

“There is only one way to justify the sacrifice — victory,” he says.

Gallant proclaims that “Hamas is gradually losing control” and that the IDF is fighting “at the height of our power.”

Noting that five days have passed since the ground operation resumed, he says the IDF has widened its operations from the north to the south of the strip.

“What happened in Gaza City is happening now in Khan Younis… with impressive results,” says the minister, noting that he has been observing IDF operations in northern Gaza.

“The leaders of Hamas now well understand that nobody is coming to save them — not the Iranians and not Hezbollah,” Gallant says.

There will not be a single battalion left that can constitute a threat, he promises.

Gallant adds that the IDF is “carrying out pinpoint efforts, some of them at high risk to IDF soldiers, in order to create the intelligence and operational conditions” for the return of hostages.

Recalling a meeting earlier with the families of the hostages and some of those freed, he adds that Israel is “fully obligated to return all the hostages.”

“The IDF is creating the conditions for this,” he says. “We are turning up the pressure.”

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