Benjamin Netanyahu
Benjamin NetanyahuGPO

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Saturday responded to the deaths of eight IDF soldiers in Rafah.

"Today we paid another heartbreaking price for our just war to protect our homeland," Netanyahu began. "With deep sorrow and heavy mourning, I bow my head together with all of Israel's citizens, and mourn the fall of our eight heroic soldiers: The deputy company commander of an engineering battalion, Captain Wassem Mahmoud, and other heroic soldiers whose names are not yet cleared for publication.

"My heart is shattered by the enormous loss. The entire people of Israel embrace the dear families during their time of deep sorrow. I support our brave soldiers and commanders, who are imbued with the holy task of defeating our enemies and returning our captives. When the price is so heavy, we will remember what we are fighting for: We are fighting to ensure our existence and our future; we are fighting to bring back our hostages."

Netanyahu added, "This difficult war was forced upon us by a despicable and murderous enemy. On the holiday of Simchat Torah, Hamas monsters infiltrated our kibbutzes, our towns, our cities, a nature party for youth who wanted only good. They butchered and raped, beheaded and burned, dismembered and kidnapped our brothers and sisters. Infants and children, women and men, young and old. This monstrous enemy has no intention of stopping here. Together with the other components of the Iranian axis of evil, it will continue to try to destroy us. If we do not stop it - it will not stop. And therefore, there is no alternative to victory."

"Dear citizens of Israel, do not allow anyone to distract you from the simple and clear fact: Though the price is heavy and earthshattering, we must keep at the goals of the war: destroying Hamas' military and governing capacities, the return of all our hostages, and ensuring that Gaza will never again present a threat to Israel, and returning our citizens to their homes in safety - both in the north and in the south.

"We are at the height of a very difficult war. This war is ongoing on several fronts, including the international front. We will face many more challenges. Especially now, we need the spiritual greatness hidden in our nation, through which we have overcome all of our enemies. That is how it will be this time as well. 'It is a time of sorrow for Jacob, and from that - he will be saved' (Jeremiah 30:7). Together we will fight, and with G-d's help - together, we will win."

Defense Minister Yoav Gallant said, "It is with great sorrow that I received the tragic news of eight soldiers who fell during combat in Rafah."

"The pain that comes with such loss is immense. My heart and my thoughts are with the families and loved ones of the fallen. I stand with the entire nation of Israel in remembering and honoring the heroes who fell while defending their people and their homeland.

"May their memory be a blessing."