Hagari in WSJ op-ed: IDF fights with ‘heavy heart’ over loss of life, Hamas deeply embedded among civilians

IDF spokesman Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari gives a statement on October 17, 2023, saying that the Palestinian terror group Islamic Jihad was responsible for a rocket misfire that hit a hospital in the Gaza Strip. (Screenshot)
IDF spokesman Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari gives a statement on October 17, 2023, saying that the Palestinian terror group Islamic Jihad was responsible for a rocket misfire that hit a hospital in the Gaza Strip. (Screenshot)

IDF Spokesman Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari says Palestinian terror group Hamas is deeply “embedded” in Gazan civilian areas and that the military is fighting the complex war in the Palestinian enclave “with a heavy heart” and “aware of the tragic loss of civilian lives on both sides.”

In a Wall Street Journal op-ed, the military spokesman writes that four months into the ground invasion in Gaza, the army has found that “Hamas has systematically embedded its terror infrastructure inside and under civilian areas in Gaza as part of its human-shield strategy” and deliberately operates in civilian areas and humanitarian zones to stage attacks.

“IDF troops discovered that most homes in Gaza have terror tunnels underneath or weapon caches inside, and the majority of schools, mosques, hospitals and international institutions have been used by Hamas for their military operations.”

Hamas, which has ruled Gaza for 16 years, “has forced Gazans to stay in active combat zones by blocking their attempts to move out of harm’s way. When civilians manage to reach the safer areas to which we guide them, Hamas then moves to those areas, turning humanitarian zones into staging areas for further attacks.

The terror group’s modus operandi also involves “instructing terrorists to dress in civilian clothes” and “waging war from inside and underneath hospitals” to exploit international law and public sympathy as “a shield for their military activities.”

He notes the contrast of this strategy to the strategy employed by thousands of Hamas-led terrorists on October 7, which he describes as a “meticulously choreographed spectacle of savagery and sadism” that saw Hamas “mercilessly murder, butcher, rape and burn Israeli families alive—documenting their crimes with GoPros and cellphones.

“The terrorists even live-streamed their atrocities on their victims’ social-media accounts,” he says, adding the unprecedented shock onslaught was “arguably the most well-documented attack in history.”

“When the fighting shifted to Gaza, Hamas went from massacring Israeli civilians to hiding behind Gazan civilians,” he points out.

“Our war is against Hamas, not against the people of Gaza, which is why we take extensive measures to minimize harm to the civilians Hamas puts in the crossfire. We are fighting this war with a heavy heart, aware of the tragic loss of civilian lives on both sides,” writes Hagari, reiterating Israel’s war goals to “dismantle Hamas and bring our hostages home” and “not to destroy Gaza or displace its people.”

Israel’s strategy, he says, is “consistent and clear: Ensure that Oct. 7 never happens again.”

Most Popular