Chief of Staff Herzi Halevi (center) in Gaza
Chief of Staff Herzi Halevi (center) in GazaIDF

IDF Chief of Staff Herzi Halevi commented on the continuing war and hostage negotiations at a situational assessment in the northern Gaza Strip with the Commanding Officer of the Southern Command, MG Yaron Finkelman, the Commanding Officer of the 162nd Division, BG Itzik Cohen, and additional commanders.

"You see, we are making progress in deepening the achievement," he said. "There are areas where we have already been, and we are returning with better intelligence and are making a much greater and a more extensive achievement, in two ways, on the ground and in striking the enemy. There are places we have passed at a very high pace of combat, and we are returning to those places to conduct a very high-level area clearance."

"These activities lead us to another level of operatives, another level of commanders, and more destroyed infrastructure."

"We are also in days of negotiating for the release of the hostages. I can't say what it will lead to, there are those who are dealing with it, we are dealing with combat."

"I want you to know one thing - there is a connection between these things. Your achievements- every battalion you dismantle, every underground infrastructure, every area where you destroy infrastructure, and the civilians that move to safe spaces - all these things together press us, I really hope, to an achievement regarding releasing the hostages as well.

"It's a war objective, we intend to do a lot to implement it, and the combat effort is the most effective action that helps those who deal and give in various places on the release of the hostages. It's the leverage we are applying on Hamas, and you are applying it excellently, we need to continue and apply it strongly, I hope we will know how to use it to release the hostages."