IDF chief of staff: “We’ll enter Gaza Strip”

The so-called Israel Defense Forces chief of staff, Herzi Halevi, told IDF commanders that the Israeli military will initiate an operation to take out Hamas, based in Gaza.

“We’ll enter the Gaza Strip. We’ll embark on an operational and professional task to destroy Hamas operatives and infrastructures,” the chief said in comments to the Golani Brigade of the IDF on Saturday.

Halevi added that when the IDF enters Gaza, they will “keep in mind” the images that occurred on October 7 during a Hamas attack that killed at least 1,400 people in Israel.

He stated that Gaza is complicated and crowded but that the IDF is preparing.

“All of the IDF’s capabilities will be with you in that maneuvering. Be brave, with that mindset, be very determined, and give your soldiers confidence,” Halevi continued.

Hagari also said the IDF will increase airstrikes on Gaza “from today”.

“We will increase our strikes, minimize the risk to our troops in the next stages of the war, and we will intensify the strikes, starting from today,” Hagari told reporters during a briefing in Tel Aviv.

When asked whether Israel has halted a ground operation in Gaza due to US pressure, Hagari stated the Israeli military would launch such an operation when the conditions for the military are optimal.

The IDF has continued to conduct airstrikes over the last day, Hagari added.

“Our main effort in Gaza is to eliminate the terrorists, and especially those involved in the massacre on Saturday two weeks ago,” he said, referring to the surprise attack carried out by Hamas.

“We continue to destroy terror targets ahead of the next stage of the war, and are focusing on our readiness to the next stage,” he added.

Gaza is gripped by a deepening humanitarian crisis, with an Israeli siege cutting off access to critical resources and air raids killing at least 4,300 people since October 7, according to the health ministry in Gaza.

Israel has told over 1 million people to leave the northern Gaza Strip as it prepares for the next stages of the war with Hamas.

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