Israeli Official Says 7 More Months To Destroy Hamas

Palestinian Hamas militants (Chris McGrath/Getty Images)
May 29, 2024

A top Israeli official on Wednesday said he expects the Israel Defense Forces will continue its military operations in Gaza for seven more months to destroy the remaining Hamas terrorists.

"We expect another seven months of combat in order to shore up our achievement and realize what we define as the destruction of Hamas and Islamic Jihad’s military and governing capabilities," Israel’s national security adviser, Tzachi Hanegbi, said in a radio interview on Wednesday.

The comment came just days after an Israeli airstrike in Rafah eliminated two Hamas officials and caused a fire that killed dozens of Palestinian civilians at a nearby encampment. Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu called the fire a "tragic accident" but showed no sign of halting the IDF’s operations in the southern Gazan city.

U.S. officials, also referring to the Sunday strike as a tragedy, said on Tuesday that the incident did not cross President Joe Biden’s "red line," according to the New York Times. Biden had warned earlier this month that the United States would pause some weapons shipments to Israel if the Jewish state targeted Rafah’s most populated areas.

Netanyahu in response to Biden’s threat said Israel would continue to "defeat our enemy and those who want to destroy us" regardless of U.S. support.

"If we need to stand alone, we will stand alone. I have said that, if necessary, we will fight with our nails. But we have much more than nails, and with that same strength of spirit—with God’s help—together, we will win," Netanyahu added.