IDF Chief of Staff: We Have Nearly Dismantled Hamas in Rafah

IDF Chief of Staff Herzi Halevi (IDF)

Israel Defense Forces (IDF) Chief of Staff Herzi Halevi told soldiers on Sunday night in Rafah, in the Gaza Strip, that they have nearly succeeded in dismantling Hamas’s remaining battalions in the area.

In a statement, Halevi said (translation via IDF):

We have very high levels of achievements from the combat in Rafah, and I express great appreciation for that. This is reflected in the amount of terrorists that have been eliminated, as well as the infrastructure destroyed, the underground tunnel routes, its mapping, its destruction, and the progress in the complex underground combat. The fact that the 162nd Division now controls the Philadelphi Corridor from the sea to the border between Israel, Gaza, and Egypt, is very significant in cutting off Hamas’ supply for future smuggling. We are now dealing with the underground assets. We are clearly approaching the point where we can say we have dismantled the Rafah Brigade, that it is defeated not in the sense that there are no more terrorists, but in the sense that it can no longer function as a fighting unit. It has suffered many casualties, and you will ensure until the completion of the mission here, to eliminate as many terrorists and destroy as much terrorist infrastructure as possible going forward. With great appreciation, what is happening here is very impressive professionally, keep it up.

While Israel has all but eliminated Hamas as a fighting force above ground, it retains significant assets underground — including weapons, leaders, and dozens of Israeli hostages.

One Israeli analyst has concluded that it will not be possible to destroy Hamas completely while it hides underground — at least, not in the near term — because Israel has not developed a strong enough underground fighting capability, and there is too much danger to soldiers to send them directly into the tunnels to confront Hamas.

There is growing pressure from the Israeli public to reach a deal with Hamas on the release of hostages — though Hamas insists on Israel ending the war and promising, with U.S.-backed guarantees, never to fight against the terror group ever again. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has rejected that condition.

The Biden administration opposed Israel’s entry into Rafah, warning of a humanitarian catastrophe that never materialized. A million Palestinians who had taken refuge in the town, which borders Egypt, simply evacuated.

Israel now controls the Gaza-Egypt border, and with it the smuggling routes used by Hamas to rearm its forces.

Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). He is the author of the recent e-book, “The Zionist Conspiracy (and how to join it),” now available on Audible. He is also the author of the e-book, Neither Free nor Fair: The 2020 U.S. Presidential Election. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.


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