Gantz says Israel fighting ‘multi-front war,’ faces unprecedented challenges in Gaza

Carrie Keller-Lynn is a former political and legal correspondent for The Times of Israel

Minister Benny Gantz speaks to the media in Tel Aviv on October 26, 2023. (Carrie Keller-Lynn/Times of Israel)
Minister Benny Gantz speaks to the media in Tel Aviv on October 26, 2023. (Carrie Keller-Lynn/Times of Israel)

War cabinet minister Benny Gantz says that Israel is in a “multi-front war,” marking the government’s strongest description yet of the expansion of Israel’s ongoing war, centered on the Hamas terror group in Gaza.

“The focus is Gaza – but we are fighting on defense and on offense both in the north and elsewhere,” the minister says, in an address from Tel Aviv’s military headquarters marking a month since Hamas’s murderous October 7 onslaught, which triggered the current hostilities.

More than 20 rockets were fired earlier today from Lebanon into Israel, as US diplomats continue to try to remove Hezbollah from the spiraling fight.

The IDF also continues to operate in the West Bank, trying to keep a lid on boiling tensions.

Within Gaza, Gantz says that “this war is unlike anything we have experienced in the past,” pointing in particular to how deeply embedded Hamas is within civilian populations.

“We are required to fight deep in the field against an enemy that is turning hospitals and schools into war rooms and weapons depots,” he says, 11 days into Israel’s Gaza ground operation.

Only one of the more than 240 hostages held by Hamas has been freed by Israeli forces, and Gantz says that Israel will make any political or military move necessary to release the rest.

“I promise that we will do everything to bring them home – by force and by political action. We will fight those who need it, and we will talk to anyone we can,” he says, stopping short of advocating for a full Palestinian security prisoner swap, as has been floated by some.

“We will not give up the chance to bring anyone back,” Gantz continues.

The families of Hamas-held hostages have held several protests, attacking the government for not doing enough to free their loved ones.

Most Popular