Israel Says Half Hamas Fighters Taken Out, Sinwar On Run

Israel Says Half Hamas Fighters Taken Out, Sinwar On Run

Feb. 6, 2024, 8:54 a.m.

Defense Minister Gallant claims Hamas leader moving ‘from hideout to hideout,’ IDF on his heels, as soldiers move toward Rafah, seek to stymie resurgence in north of Strip

Israel’s leaders claimed Monday that they had killed or seriously injured half of the Hamas terror group’s fighters, saying that the end of a nearly 4-month-old offensive in Gaza was a matter of months, not years, as fighting was set to spread to the southern metropolis representing the Strip’s final redoubt.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed that Israel would reach “complete victory,” even as military officials detailed resurgent fighting in areas of northern Gaza previously cleared by troops. The complicated situation underlines the difficulty Israel faces in meeting its war goals, though it looks to complete an unprecedented sweep by pushing into the southern city of Rafah.

And with Hamas’s top leaders still on the loose, Defense Minister Yoav Gallant insisted that the terror group’s Gaza leader Yahya Sinwar was on the run, out of touch with his fighters, and forced to flee from one hideout to another with the IDF hot on his heels.

Israel’s leaders claimed Monday that they had killed or seriously injured half of the Hamas terror group’s fighters, saying that the end of a nearly 4-month-old offensive in Gaza was a matter of months, not years, as fighting was set to spread to the southern metropolis representing the Strip’s final redoubt.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed that Israel would reach “complete victory,” even as military officials detailed resurgent fighting in areas of northern Gaza previously cleared by troops. The complicated situation underlines the difficulty Israel faces in meeting its war goals, though it looks to complete an unprecedented sweep by pushing into the southern city of Rafah.

And with Hamas’s top leaders still on the loose, Defense Minister Yoav Gallant insisted that the terror group’s Gaza leader Yahya Sinwar was on the run, out of touch with his fighters, and forced to flee from one hideout to another with the IDF hot on his heels.

“Our goal is a complete victory over Hamas,” Netanyahu told a meeting of his Likud party faction at the Knesset. “We will kill the Hamas leadership, so we must continue to operate in all areas in the Gaza Strip. We must not end the war before then. It will take time — months, not years.”

The estimate appeared to be more optimistic than a prediction Netanyahu reportedly gave local council leaders last month that the war would continue into 2025.

Israel’s leaders claimed Monday that they had killed or seriously injured half of the Hamas terror group’s fighters, saying that the end of a nearly 4-month-old offensive in Gaza was a matter of months, not years, as fighting was set to spread to the southern metropolis representing the Strip’s final redoubt.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed that Israel would reach “complete victory,” even as military officials detailed resurgent fighting in areas of northern Gaza previously cleared by troops. The complicated situation underlines the difficulty Israel faces in meeting its war goals, though it looks to complete an unprecedented sweep by pushing into the southern city of Rafah.

And with Hamas’s top leaders still on the loose, Defense Minister Yoav Gallant insisted that the terror group’s Gaza leader Yahya Sinwar was on the run, out of touch with his fighters, and forced to flee from one hideout to another with the IDF hot on his heels.

“Our goal is a complete victory over Hamas,” Netanyahu told a meeting of his Likud party faction at the Knesset. “We will kill the Hamas leadership, so we must continue to operate in all areas in the Gaza Strip. We must not end the war before then. It will take time — months, not years.”

The estimate appeared to be more optimistic than a prediction Netanyahu reportedly gave local council leaders last month that the war would continue into 2025.

Visiting soldiers at Latrun in the center of the country, Netanyahu said that 18 out of 24 Hamas battalions had been destroyed, and that “there is no substitute for total victory.”

“We will not end the war without achieving that goal of total victory that will restore security,” he said. “We will not give it up.”

He did not lay out what total victory means, even as he continued to dig in on the position, during ongoing negotiations for a deal with Hamas to secure freedom for the approximately 136 hostages held by terror groups in the Gaza Strip.

The prime minister also said that Israel is “collapsing and destroying” Hamas’s tunnel network, a vast complex of hundreds of kilometers of subterranean passages cavities it uses to house and deploy its forces.

At a press conference in Tel Aviv, Gallant said “about half of the Hamas terrorists have been killed or seriously wounded,” echoing Netanyahu.

Neither figure put a number on the Hamas casualties. Israel previously said it had killed over 10,000 Hamas operatives in Gaza.

Gallant described the ground operation as “complex and complicated,” while “progressing and achieving its goals,” with the IDF active “in most of the territory of the Gaza Strip.”

He said Hamas’s leadership, including Sinwar, is “on the run.”

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