IDF Spokesman Hagari: 'As opposed to Hamas, IDF continues to work to protect civilians'IDF Spokesperson

IDF Spokesman Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari released a statement on Thursday addressing the IDF’s ongoing operation in Rafah.

With the video of the abduction of IDF observers in the foreground, the spokesman stated: "Those who may have forgotten how savage and barbaric Hamas is have received a chilling reminder when they saw the horrifying footage of our girls being held in captivity. Those young girls need to come back home. They need to come back home to their families. We must do everything to fulfill our critical mission of bringing all our hostages home and ensuring an enduring defeat of Hamas. We’re going after Hamas. We’re going to release our hostages from Hamas."

Hagari noted: "Hamas is in Rafah, Hamas has been holding our hostages in Rafah, which is why our forces are maneuvering in Rafah. We’re doing this in a targeted and precise way."

He continued: "Now, I want to remind you, the Israel Defense Forces has gained a lot of experience in conducting precise operations in complex areas and targeted raids against Hamas based on accurate intelligence. The IDF is committed to operating in accordance with international law and will continue to keep that commitment. We’re implementing lessons learned since Hamas started this war on October 7th and refining our operations so that there is minimal harm to the Gazan civilians Hamas is hiding behind. Hamas terrorists are waging war while embedding themselves inside and under civilian areas in Rafah — Because Hamas wants Gazan civilians to be caught in the crossfire. We don’t.

"We’re protecting Gazan civilians in Rafah from being a layer of protection for Hamas, by encouraging them to temporarily evacuate to humanitarian areas like we’ve done with around 1 million civilians in Rafah until now who have moved out of harm’s way. Out of Hamas’s stronghold in Rafah. We’re not smashing into Rafah, we’re operating carefully and precisely. So far we have eliminated dozens of Hamas terrorists, exposed dozens of terror tunnels, and destroyed vast amounts of infrastructure including rocket launchers with rockets inside waiting to be launched by Hamas at Israeli homes."

Hagari noted that Israel shared its plans with the United States, heard their perspectives, has been attentive to their lessons learned, and will continue this "productive dialogue."

He also said that Israel is continuing to work with the US on getting aid to the people of Gaza through the JLOTS, the temporary floating pier. Ramping up the amount of aid going into Gaza remains our priority.

"Israel has facilitated the entry of half a million tons of humanitarian aid into Gaza including almost 20,000 trucks of food. While Hamas has been bombing humanitarian crossings, damaging water pipes, and stealing aid from the people of Gaza. Israel has been opening new aid crossings, fixing the water pipes in Gaza, and paving roads so that humanitarian aid reaches the people of Gaza in need," he added.

"Our war is not against the people of Gaza - our war is against Hamas," the spokesman declared

"Hamas started this war on October 7th. Hamas is choosing right now to continue this war by refusing to release our hostages, continuing to attack Israel, and vowing to continue to do so as long as it can.

"There are men, women, and girls being held by Hamas in living hell, across our border, in Gaza. We will not stop fighting for their freedom. We have a moral duty to bring all our hostages home. Every decent country in the world would do the same." Hagari concluded.