Israeli Defense Forces Chief Says Military Pressure Is Key To Freeing More Hostages

Israeli Defense Forces Chief Says Military Pressure Is Key To Freeing More Hostages

Jan. 14, 2024, 8:52 a.m.

Halevi says honest probe of Oct. 7 failures is ‘lifeblood’ of the army; IDF eliminates Hamas gunmen, foils rocket launches, strikes command post; 187th soldier killed in fighting.

IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Herzi Halevi said in a press statement in southern Israel Saturday night that only military pressure would bring about the return of more hostages from Gaza.

With the war against Hamas set to reach its 100-day mark Sunday, Halevi said the Israel Defense Forces was “acting via all means, mostly covert, in order to bring back [the hostages] and will continue to do so until we return them all.”

To “bring about real results, we must continue to operate in the enemy’s territory and not allow attempts [by Hamas] to reach a ceasefire through blackmail.

“Hamas leadership is pinning its hopes on a cessation of hostilities and is convinced that this moment is near… In order to dismantle Hamas, we need to have patience,” Halevi continued.

Saying that forces operating in Gaza were continuing to uncover “an actual military industry,” he vowed the IDF “will continue to attack, pursue and destroy.”

On Saturday, the IDF said it thwarted planned Hamas rocket launches, took out a command center used by the terror group and eliminated multiple cells of gunmen operating in the enclave.

It also confirmed the death of an Israeli soldier killed Friday in central Gaza, bringing the toll of slain troops in the ground offensive against Hamas to 187. He was named as Master Sgt. (res.) Dan Wajdenbaum, 24, of the Yiftah Brigade’s 5037th Battalion, from Ra’anana.

On his decision to launch an investigation into the military’s failures that enabled the October 7 disaster to occur, even before the end of the war, Halevi said Saturday: “Honest investigation is the lifeblood of an army… Of course, an operational investigation does not replace an external inspection or investigation. We understand that the war will continue for a long time, and so we’ve started planning the structure of the investigations.

“We must begin to understand what happened, in order to better protect the residents of the [Gaza border communities] and in order to know how to ensure that this day will not be repeated.”

Operations throughout the Strip

Troops of the 646th Reserve Paratroopers Brigade in the central Gaza Strip located two Hamas rocket launching sites over the weekend, with projectiles prepared for imminent launch, the IDF said.

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