The leaders of the Islamic fundamentalist group Hamas are “men sentenced to death… inside or outside Gaza”, the acting spokesman for the Israeli Army, Jonathan Conricus, said on Wednesday during an interview with Sky News Australia. According to Conricus, it is only a matter of time before they are executed or captured, reiterating a statement made by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in a speech on the 25th.
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— The orientation is definitely to kill or capture (…) all Hamas leaders. We have already said it openly. They are all sentenced to death. And it is only a matter of time, inside and outside Gaza, before they are captured or killed by Israel — said Conricus in the interview cited by the British newspaper Guardian.
The Israeli Armed Forces have implemented the so-called “phase two” of their military offensive, which consists of a ground incursion into the enclave to extinguish the terrorist group, which a month ago launched the deadliest attack against Israelis since the formation of the Jewish State. , in 1948. The terrorist action left 1,400 dead, most of them civilians, and took around 240 hostages, who are still missing, according to Israeli authorities.
On Tuesday, Defense Minister Yoav Gallant said that Israeli soldiers were already fighting “in the heart of Gaza City,” which on Monday was surrounded, effectively dividing the Gaza Strip in half to try to prevent Hamas control the territory.
In addition to the land incursion, Israel has been bombing the Palestinian enclave, controlled by the group since 2007, since it suffered the terrorist attack on October 7. Since then, more than 10,500 Palestinians have been killed and another 26,000 injured, according to Palestinian sources.
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The spokesman said the aim of the incursion is to dismantle Hamas “strongholds” that are “buried in bunkers.” Israel named the strategic network of dozens of kilometers of galleries for military use, considered Hamas’s secret weapon in the face of an invasion, “subway” — some are more than 30 meters deep. Therefore, Conricus stated that the forces are proceeding “slowly and meticulously”, although the advances are being “good and solid”.
— It is a very challenging battle space. Hamas prepared the battlefield, unfortunately, very well — she highlighted.
A month of war
Gaza, in turn, is surrounded by devastation and death. More than 10,000 buildings were hit in the first eight days of the conflict alone. Overcrowded, hospitals suffer from a lack of fuel, supplies and equipment to care for women, men and, mainly, minors who are victims of the conflict — half of Gaza’s population is under 18 years old.
The conflict did not spare journalists either. Indirectly on the front line, 37 media professionals were killed while covering the conflict — more than double the total recorded in 20 months of the war in Ukraine, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ).
Hoping to eliminate the terrorist group from the enclave, Netanyahu said on Monday that the Jewish state will assume “overall security responsibility” in Gaza for an “indefinite period” after the end of the conflict.
The statement was softened by the country’s Minister of Strategic Affairs, Ron Dermer, stating that the prime minister “did not talk about occupying Gaza”. He emphasized, however, that Hamas “cannot be part” of the future of the enclave.