newsIsrael at War

Gallant: 60% of Hamas gunmen in Gaza killed or wounded

The defense minister also said that the IDF has dismantled most of the terror group's 24 battalions.

Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant speaks to troops during an operational situation assessment in Rafah, the southern Gaza Strip, May 26, 2024. Photo by Ariel Hermoni/IMoD.
Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant speaks to troops during an operational situation assessment in Rafah, the southern Gaza Strip, May 26, 2024. Photo by Ariel Hermoni/IMoD.

Israeli forces have killed or wounded 60% of Hamas’s combatants since the war in Gaza began on Oct. 7, Defense Minister Yoav Gallant said on Wednesday.

Speaking at the Knesset in Jerusalem, Gallant also revealed that the IDF had broken up a majority of the Al-Qassam Brigades’ 24 battalions entrenched across the coastal enclave. (The Al-Qassam Brigades is Hamas’s so-called “military” wing.)

“The action of the IDF that has so far led to the elimination of over 14,000 terrorists and the collapse of the military frameworks of Hamas is, in fact, the testimony of what I am saying—everything will be done in accordance with the law and in accordance with the operational need,” Gallant said.

Israel’s air force began pounding Hamas targets immediately after the terrorist group led the bloody invasion of the northwestern Negev on Oct. 7, killing, wounding and kidnapping thousands, while committing widespread atrocities. IDF ground troops entered Gaza on Oct. 27 and are continuing operational activities across the territory.

The goals as set forth by the War Cabinet at the start of the war and which remain in place are to dismantle Hamas as a military and governing entity in Gaza, return the hostages and ensure that Gaza can never again threaten Israel.

Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant attends an assembly session in the plenum hall at the Knesset in Jerusalem on July 10, 2024. Photo by Chaim Goldberg/Flash90.

During his remarks to the Knesset members, Gallant stressed the importance of maintaining international legitimacy as a “basic condition” for continuing military operations in Gaza and preventing a humanitarian crisis there.

He cited the recent decision to restore electricity to one of Gaza’s desalination plants as an example of Israel’s humanitarian efforts.

“We allowed the electricity connection to the desalination plant only. Water pollution and as a result the potential for disease outbreaks will endanger our forces, the execution of the missions and the abductees,” Gallant said.

IDF soldier KIA in Gaza, bringing military death toll to 681

An Israeli soldier was killed on Tuesday during combat against Palestinian terrorists in the central Gaza Strip, the military announced on Wednesday morning.

The soldier was identified as Sgt. First Class Tal Lahat, 21, of the Maglan commando unit, from Kfar Saba.

Israel Defense Forces soldier Sgt. First Class Tal Lahat, 21, of the Maglan commando unit, was killed in action in the Gaza Strip, July 9, 2024. Credit: IDF.

The death toll among Israeli troops since the start of the Gaza ground incursion on Oct. 27 now stands at 325, and at 681 on all fronts since the Hamas-led Oct. 7 massacre, according to official military data.

Additionally, Ch. Insp. Arnon Zamora, a member of the Border Police’s Yamam National Counter-Terrorism Unit, was fatally wounded last month during a mission to rescue four hostages, and civilian defense contractor Liron Yitzhak was mortally wounded in May.

Meanwhile, the IDF is continuing to press its offensive against Hamas in Gaza City and across the coastal enclave.

The military said on Wednesday that troops had raided the UNRWA headquarters in Gaza City’s upscale Rimal neighborhood, which it said Hamas and Islamic Jihad operatives were using as a base to conduct attacks on Israeli soldiers in the central Strip.

“After a defined corridor was opened to facilitate the evacuation of civilians from the area, IDF troops conducted a targeted raid on the structure, eliminated terrorists in close-quarters combat, and located large amounts of weapons in the area,” the army said.

Israeli forces also remain active in Gaza City’s Shejaiya neighborhood, over the past day killing dozens of terrorists and dismantling underground tunnel routes.

Troops are also conducting counterterror operations in Gaza City’s Tel al-Hawa neighborhood, which began overnight Sunday based on intelligence indicating that Hamas and Islamic Jihad are attempting to regroup there. Israeli forces killed dozens of terrorists and found many weapons.

Israeli forces also continue to clear the Rafah area of Hamas fighters, over the past day killing many terrorists, locating weapons and dismantling terrorists infrastructure in the area.

Since the start of the operation in Rafah in early May, Israeli forces have killed more than 1,000 terrorists during battles in the last Hamas stronghold, according to data compiled by the Institute for National Security Studies at Tel Aviv University.

The Israeli military also remains active in central Gaza, with the Israeli Air Force striking several Hamas terrorists who took part in the underground tunnels and anti-tank missile units.

There is “no stagnation or standing still” in the Gaza campaign and Israel continues to apply military pressure on Hamas throughout the Strip, IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Herzi Halevi told troops on Tuesday after a situational assessment held in the Netzarim Corridor that divides northern and southern Gaza.

“What we are doing in Rafah is different from what you are doing here, and what you are doing here is different from what is happening right now in Shejaiya, or in the mission along the corridor, or in the security area along the border,” the army chief said.

Halevi continued, “What is the common denominator between these different places? The common denominator is determination. The common denominator is a very high-quality way of doing these things, and in the end, we go on the missions to destroy as much [terrorist] infrastructure as possible, to eliminate as many Hamas operatives as possible, to eliminate as many commanders as possible.”

Reducing Hamas’s terrorist capabilities allows the IDF to “move forward with the achievements,” including the return of the some 120 hostages still held captive by the terrorist group, Halevi stressed in his remarks.

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