Israeli Defence Minister Yoav Gallant has said that the war against Hamas in Gaza will end after Israel achieves its goals, The Times of Israel reported. He said that the Hamas’ Jabaliya and Shejaiya battalions in the northern Gaza Strip are on the “verge of being dismantled.”
While addressing a press conference, Gallant said, “The war will end when its goals are achieved. I take into consideration everything the US asks and says, and take seriously, along with all the members of the cabinet, what America is doing.”
He further said, “We will find a way to help the Americans help us.”
Asked about potential new hostage deal with Hamas, Gallant stated that he believes that there will be more offers for hostage deals if Israel increases military pressure, The Times of Israel reported.
He said, “I believe that if we increase the military pressure, there will be offers for more hostage deals, and if there are offers, we will consider them.”
Gallant said that Israel forces have encircled the last strongholds of Hamas in Jabaliya and Shejaiya. He stated that hundreds of Hamas operatives have surrendered to Israeli troops in recent days, which he stresses “shows what is happening” to the terror group.
He said, “We have encircled the last strongholds of Hamas in Jabaliya and Shejaiya, the battalions that were considered invincible, that prepared for years to fight us, are on the verge of being dismantled.”
Gallant said, “Whoever surrenders — his life is spared,” adding that among those who have been arrested by the IDF are terrorists who participated in the October 7 terror attack on Israeli communities. He added, “They are telling us very interesting things.”
He even warned Hamas head Yahya Sinwar, saying that his fate and that of “any other senior commander in Hamas, and the fate of the [low-ranking] terrorist is the same: surrender or die. There is no third option,” according to The Times of Israel report.
Meanwhile, the Israel Defence Forces and Shin Bet have announced that they have arrested more than 500 terror operatives in the Gaza Strip in the last month. The IDF’s Military Intelligence Directorate’s Unit 504 and the security agency have taken these terror operatives for questioning.
According to the joint statement, more than 140 of the operatives have been arrested since the ceasefire ended on December 1. The IDF said, “The operatives were detained during battles in recent days by IDF troops. Some of them voluntarily surrendered and were taken by the field interrogators… for further investigation.”
The IDF said that some of the operatives were arrested while they were hiding in civilian buildings, including schools and shelters for civilians, The Times of Israel reported.
Earlier on Monday, the IDF announced the deaths of seven more soldiers, taking the death count of troops in Israel’s ground offensive against Hamas to 104. Six of these soldiers were killed while fighting in the southern Gaza Strip on Sunday.
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