Spokesman says IDF has completely dismantled Hamas’s ‘military framework’ in northern Gaza

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

An undated photo released by the Israel Defense Forces on January 6, 2024, shows Muhammed Deif (R), the commander of the Hamas terror group's military wing. (Israel Defense Forces)
An undated photo released by the Israel Defense Forces on January 6, 2024, shows Muhammed Deif (R), the commander of the Hamas terror group's military wing. (Israel Defense Forces)

IDF Spokesman Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari in a press conference says the military has completed dismantling Hamas’s “military framework” in the northern Gaza Strip.

Hagari gives a lengthy explanation regarding the military’s operations so far in Gaza, pointing to the army’s achievements but highlighting the time it has taken to accomplish them.

“There are no shortcuts when it comes to fighting terror,” he says, noting that it took three months to largely defeat Hamas in northern Gaza, preventing the terror group’s battalions from carrying out large-scale attacks.

“We have completed dismantling the military framework of Hamas in the northern part of the Strip, and we will continue to deepen the achievement, strengthen the barrier and defenses on the border,” Hagari says.

He warns that despite defeating Hamas in the northern Gaza Strip, there is still likely to be sporadic rocket fire on Israel from those areas.

“We struck, and will continue to strike, and continue to deepen the achievement in these areas, but it takes time,” Hagari says.

Hagari says that the IDF is currently focused on dismantling Hamas in central and southern Gaza.

“We will do it in a different method, in a thorough way, based on the lessons we learned from the fighting until now,” he says.

He says the refugee camps in central Gaza are “dense and full of terrorists,” while Khan Younis has an “underground city of branching tunnels.”

“It will take time, the fighting will continue throughout 2024. We are working according to a plan to achieve the goals of the war: to dismantle Hamas in the center and south, and continue all efforts, intelligence, operational, and military pressure, to return the hostages,” Hagari says.

He says at the same time the IDF is building new defenses along the Gaza border to allow residents displaced since October 7 to return to their homes.

Also in his press conference, Hagari reveals a photo of Mohammed Deif, the commander of Hamas’s military wing.

The photo was among some 70 million digital files recovered by the IDF in Gaza, he says.

Deif is seen in the photo holding a plastic cup in one hand and dollar bills in another, apparently confirming newly reported IDF intelligence findings that disproved the long-held belief that he is an amputee and nearly paralyzed.

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