Netanyahu: Deaths of 8 soldiers in Rafah is the ‘heartbreaking price of a just war’

Sam Sokol is the Times of Israel's political correspondent. He was previously a reporter for the Jerusalem Post, Jewish Telegraphic Agency and Haaretz. He is the author of "Putin’s Hybrid War and the Jews"

Declaring that the deaths of eight IDF servicemen in Gaza on Saturday morning are the “heartbreaking price in our just war of the defense of the homeland,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu expresses his “deep mourning” but insists that “despite the heavy and staggering cost, we must stick to the goals of the war.”

These include “destroying the military and governmental capabilities of Hamas, returning all our hostages, making sure that Gaza will no longer pose a threat to Israel and returning our residents safely to their homes – both in the north and in the south,” he says in a video message.

“When the price is so heavy, we will remember what we are fighting for: we are fighting to ensure our existence and our future, we are fighting to return all our hostages,” he insists — stating that “this hard war was forced upon us by a loathsome and murderous enemy” who “slaughtered and raped” on October 7, attacking “babies and children, women and men, young and old.”

“This monstrous enemy has no intention of stopping here. Along with the rest of Iran’s axis of evil, it will continue to try to destroy us. If we don’t stop it — it won’t stop. Therefore, there is no substitute for victory,” Netanyahu declares.

At the same time, Defense Minister Yoav Gallant expresses condolences over the latest casualties, writing on X that he was “deeply saddened when, in the early hours of the morning, I received the difficult news about the death of eight IDF soldiers in the battle in Rafah.”

“The pain is great, my heart and thoughts are with their families,” he writes. “I bow my head together with all the people of Israel in memory of the heroes who fell in defense of our people and land. May their memory be a blessing.”

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