Gallant and Austin
Gallant and AustinAriel Hermoni/IMoD

Today (Monday), Minister of Defense Yoav Gallant held a joint press conference with his U.S. counterpart, Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin.

"Secretary Austin, the United States and Israel, have never been more determined and aligned, in our shared values, interests, and goals," Minister Gallant said.

"Our common enemies around the world, are watching. And they know that Israel’s victory, is the victory of the free world, led by the United States," he said.

"Today, IDF troops are operating in Hamas hotspots across Gaza. In northern Gaza, our troops have eliminated thousands of terrorists, destroyed military infrastructure, and dismantled most of the battalions operating in the area. In southern Gaza, in Khan Younis, we are precise and focused on eliminating Hamas leadership and military infrastructure. Detecting and engaging Hamas leadership, and the chain of command, span over the phases of this war, and will continue until we fully achieve our goals.

Gallant said: "Anytime we discuss humanitarian issues, we must remember: the 129 hostages still held in Gaza. This is the most humanitarian issue."

Addressing the repeated attacks from Lebanon, he said: "We will bring back the residents of the north to their homes on the border, after full security will be restored. We prefer to do so via understandings, ensuring that the border region is clear of terrorists, and does not allow direct threats on our citizens. If such a process will not be implemented diplomatically, we will not hesitate to act."

Addressing the Houthi threat, he said: "Their actions threaten international freedom of navigation, and their reckless behavior – firing ballistic missiles, cruise missiles, and drones towards Israel, can drag the region into war. The State of Israel values U.S. leadership. And we will support international efforts. At the same time, we maintain the right to take all the actions necessary, to defend our sovereignty and our citizens."