At a press conference shortly before news of the deaths of 13 IDF soldiers overnight Saturday was released, IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gantz said that the army was determined to complete its mission of restoring quiet to southern Israel by delivering a devastating blow to Hamas' military capabilities.
A substantial blow had already been delivered, Gantz told reporters. Responding to questions about what the IDF had accomplished in its ground invasion of Gaza, Gantz said that Saturday had been a difficult day for Israel, with heavy losses, but that things were much worse for Hamas. The terror organization has been badly hit, and is rapidly losing its ability to inflict harm on Israel. “We intend to continue the campaign until Hamas is no longer able to harm us,” Gantz said.
Gantz added that the IDF had done everything possible to protect civilians, including warning them four days in advance that the army planned to enter the neighborhood. “I truly feel bad for the civilians who are in harm,s way,” Gantz said. “We have to do the moral thing by them and warn them in advance to give them an opportunity to get out of harm's way, but if they refuse to do so we cannot allow their presence to prevent us from carrying out our missions. We also have a moral obligation to Israelis to protect them, and we intend to accomplish that.
“There is no other army in the world like the IDF that takes so many precautions in warning citizens of soldiers' advance, whether it's by mail, flyer, phone calls, text messages, and loudspeakers,” Gantz added. “You won't find other armies setting up field hospitals and bringing in supplies, as we have.”
With all that, Gantz said that he believed Hamas' days were numbered. “They have sustained some terrible losses, and they are going to lose much more in the coming days,” he added.