IDF chief: Military achievements in Gaza ‘very high’ but still a ‘long way to go’

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

IDF Chief of Staff gives a press conference from the Gaza border, February 13, 2024. (Israel Defense Forces)
IDF Chief of Staff gives a press conference from the Gaza border, February 13, 2024. (Israel Defense Forces)

IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Herzi Halevi says the military’s achievements amid the war against Hamas in the Gaza Strip are higher than it had expected at this stage, but that they are still not enough to complete the campaign’s goals as of yet.

“We have been fighting for about four months and there is still a way to go,” Halevi says in a press conference from the Gaza border.

“The war is changing its face, a difficult and painful beginning, we impeded [Hamas’s attack] at a high price, we came to our senses and launched a high-quality and powerful attack. We will continue it until the goals of the war are completed,” he says.

“In the past decades, there has not been an army that maneuvered in an area that is urban and dense, with high [buildings] and [tunnels] below the surface of the ground. IDF soldiers are dealing with this with great success and the military achievements are extraordinary. Unfortunately, there is also a price in casualties,” Halevi continues.

“We are progressing according to the plan. The achievements so far are higher than what we thought [they would be] at the start,” he says.

“The fighting, we are now continuing in different formations. In the north of the Strip, we return to wherever there is terror, we use the intelligence we find, the interrogations of the many terrorists we captured, and come back for the second and third time to targets, kill more enemies, destroy more terror infrastructures, and deepen the achievement,” Halevi says.

In southern Gaza’s Khan Younis, Halevi says, “We are reaching places that the enemy did not imagine we would reach, destroying all the strategic assets of Hamas in a city that was considered the terror capital of the organization.”

“We have so far eliminated over 10,000 terrorists, including many commanders. This is what it means to dismantle Hamas,” he says.

“The military achievements, as I said, are very high, but between them and the realization of the goals of the war, there is a long way to go,” the army chief says.

“We need to attack the senior [Hamas] leadership, kill more of the enemy’s commanders and its operatives, return the [Gaza border] residents to their homes in safety, and bring all the hostages home,” Halevi says.

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