IDF Chief of Staff, Herzi Halevi, made a statement this afternoon (Tuesday) regarding the continuation of fighting against Hamas on the 18th day of the war.
"The State of Israel is in the midst of a war initiated by the terrorist organization Hamas. It will regret it, it is starting to regret it already. The battles of citizens, members of the security forces, soldiers, and commanders on Oct 7th deserve great appreciation. Many hundreds of terrorists were killed thanks to the bravery of the fighters. IDF forces now have control of the area, defending it strongly. Vigilance is still required," stated Halevi.
He added that the training for the next phase - the ground entry - continues. "I meet with the forces in the field and brief them, talking with the combat soldiers, with the commanders, I just came from a visit to another division. We trained for this, we equipped ourselves well, and we are among the most advanced in the world. But above all, we have the best fighters for these missions. The IDF and the Southern Command planned high-quality attack plans to achieve the goals of the war."
"I want it to be clear - the IDF is ready for maneuvering, and we will make a decision together with the political echelon regarding the essence and timing of the next step. We are waging a war, at this stage there are tactical and strategic considerations that allow us more time to improve and use every minute to be even more prepared. On the other hand, every minute that passes on the other side, we attack the enemy more, kill his operatives, kill his commanders, destroy his infrastructure, and gather more intelligence for what's to come. We are holding him in suspense, now the enemy is the one who is waiting vigilantly," Halevi stressed.
He noted that Israel is not easing the pressure exerted against Hamas. "We are attacking Gaza all the time and non-stop; day and night, from the air, from the sea, and from the land, targets based on quality and focused intelligence. Our ground troops are at the borders, meeting enemy units almost every night, and hitting them: infantry, armor, engineering, and artillery, together with all the IDF branches, the Air Force, Navy, and intelligence, they all work together for one goal - the defense of the State of Israel. In the north of the country, on the Lebanese border, the IDF forces are determined at the line of contact, we immediately attack any Hezbollah unit that is interested in or tries to harm Israeli citizens or IDF soldiers. Hezbollah is an organization that cooperates with the murderous attacks of Hamas, thus identifying with ISIS, under the guise of “protecting Lebanon”. We are strongly prepared, ready, and alert also for the possibility of the expansion of the war zones, near and far. In light of the situation in the north, we decided to evacuate many residents from their homes. It's not convenient, but it's much safer. We are working on this and will work to restore security to the northern border."
"The goals of the war as defined for us by the Israeli government are the dissolution of Hamas, the restoration of security to the residents of Israel, and an utmost effort to free the kidnapped and return them home. We will never forget the children who were murdered, the women who were separated from their husbands, and the atrocities. We are taking these images with us to the battlefield, we are determined, and we will do it like warriors. We also remember and fight mainly because we know there is a purpose - this is our country, our home, and we will defend it in any way," the Chief of Staff stressed.
He concluded, "An atrocity has taken place here that has not been seen since the establishment of the state - and it will require a fundamental change in the security reality. There are costs for this, including during the war. Everyone is mobilized, reserves and regulars. look around, soldiers went from training areas of the reserves straight to Shiva visits, bases have been holding weddings. We will turn this combination of sadness and joy into a force that will go with us and accompany us on the battlefield. This war has one address - the leadership of Hamas and everyone who acted under their command, they will pay the price for what they carried out."