IDF Southern Command General, Maj. Gen. Yaron Finkelman visited the various units stationed on the southern front. During his visit, he approved plans and spoke with the troops.
Finkelman spoke publicly for the first time since the war broke out, stating that "a surprise war was forced on us against a brutal enemy who harmed us severely. We stopped it (the enemy)."
Finkelman stated that "the maneuver will move the combat into their territory. It is going to be long and intense, the best of our commander and soldiers are here."
He turned to the soldiers and said: "I greatly and completely believe in you. I believe in strength and thoroughness, and above all, everyone's spirit, which will lead us to victory.
Earlier in the day, Minister of Defense Yoav Gallant visited the IDF staging areas near the Gaza border.
"I see the determination, the spirit of battle, and above all, the motivation to carry out everything needed to defeat Hamas, to eliminate terrorist infrastructure, and to execute the mission as needed," Gallant said about the troops whom he met.
"I'm responsible for the defense establishment. I have been responsible for it for the past two weeks, during the difficult events as well, I am responsible for bringing it to victory in battle," he continued.
He added: "We will be exact, sharp, deadly, and we will continue until we completely execute the mission.