newsIsrael at War

IDF: Israel will strike Iran at ‘time and place of our choosing’

"It is impossible not to respond to such an attack," IDF Spokesman Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari said.

IDF Spokesperson Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari briefs reporters in Tel Aviv, Oct. 16, 2023. Photo by Avshalom Sassoni/Flash90.
IDF Spokesperson Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari briefs reporters in Tel Aviv, Oct. 16, 2023. Photo by Avshalom Sassoni/Flash90.

Jerusalem will respond to Iran’s unprecedented aerial assault “at the time and place of our choosing,” IDF Spokesman Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari said on Tuesday.

Israel Hayom‘s “Tomorrow’s Conference” opened Tuesday at the International Convention Center in Ashkelon. Hagari was a guest at the conference and was asked about a possible response to the Iranian attack, the regional anti-Tehran coalition, a framework for a deal to free the captives in Gaza and the situation on the Israeli home front.

“On Saturday, Iran attacked the State of Israel with 350 launches. This was blocked and Iran failed in its attack. It was blocked thanks to capabilities built up in the State of Israel over years in the defense industries. It was blocked thanks to a historic air defense battle that will be studied extensively around the world. A defensive battle in which Israeli Air Force pilots downed swarms of aircraft,” Hagari said.

“Additionally, something very big happened: a regional coalition led by the U.S., Britain and France came together perfectly—in the air, on land and at sea—and together intercepted 99% of the threat before it entered Israel[i airspace].

“In the end, four ballistic missiles hit the Nevatim [Air] Base without causing damage. Thanks to our operational success on Saturday, we now have many options for how and when to act. We will act properly and at the right time, and any discussion on this matter is unnecessary,” Hagari continued.

“It is impossible not to respond to such an attack. We will act at the time and place of our choosing, and any discussion about it is unnecessary. We are in a high state of readiness even as we speak—pilots are defending the skies, we have fighters on the borders. Just a few minutes ago there was an incident on the northern border with unmanned aircraft.

“In the past six months, we have been working to protect the citizens of the State of Israel. There was a failure on October 7, and since then there has been a great recovery. In recent days, there has been a development due to what happened with Iran, but it also brings strategic opportunities,” the admiral said.

“A coalition arose and said, ‘No more, we will not allow this.’ This is a great opportunity that must be seized. We must remember that our war is in Gaza, we have captives in Gaza, and we must not divert our attention from there,” he said.

The home front

Hagari also addressed the plight of Israeli citizens who have been displaced from their homes for six months due to the conflict.

“This is an opportunity to talk about the home front and the residents, especially those who left their homes and are in difficulties that no one can understand, a difficulty that we as a society must be sensitive to,” he said.

“In the military, we need to act and do everything we can so they can return home, but only when there is no threat. All Israeli citizens are living in difficulty, and we need to be sensitive and coordinate with the municipalities,” Hagari added.

The IDF spokesman continued, “We will do everything we can to ease the situation. We feel the difficulty. Our role is to ease the situation for the public, but the security of the state’s residents is paramount. So far, the residents have acted with exemplary responsibility. We need to do everything so that 1.9 million people can return to their schools and homes.”

Hagari said, “I want to talk about the captives because that’s what’s important. I don’t think [Hamas chief in Gaza] Sinwar doesn’t want a deal—he wants it on his terms. It was the same during the time of Gilad Shalit,” the IDF Armored Corps soldier who was held in Gaza for five years and then released in 2011 in exchange for Israel releasing 1,027 Palestinian terrorists from prison.

The military spokesman vowed that Israel would eventually decapitate the Hamas leadership through targeted killings.

“We are at war with Hamas, and on a military level we have defeated 19 out of 24 of its battalions, but it is a terrorist organization and we need to make sure we eliminate the leaders—it will take time but we will get to all of them.”

Hagari said Sinwar is in hiding, speculating, “Maybe he expected that the Iranian war on Saturday would work in his favor. We need to see that our regional balance is strengthening—this will weaken Hamas. Any action we take in Gaza, in maneuvers and eliminating leaders, needs to advance the return of the captives.”

The IDF spokesperson said investigations of the events of Oct. 7 have already begun to yield lessons, adding, “We will also take responsibility at all levels. We must earn the public’s trust, and public trust comes with taking responsibility.

“We will do everything in the IDF, with a wide deployment, to allow the citizens of the State of Israel to sit securely at the [Passover] Seder night [next Monday]. We are in a complex security reality; if there are changes, we will update the public.”

Originally published by Israel Hayom.

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