Israel’s military operation against Hamas was “just beginning,” and the Islamic terror organization would be destroyed, Israeli Intelligence Minister Gila Gamliel said on Friday.
The remarks were the latest indication that the Israeli offensive against Hamas, now entering its ninth day, would likely last for weeks, including a potential ground invasion of Gaza.
Israel was striking Hamas “decisively and extensively” and with “unprecedented force” following the surprise Hamas assault that killed at least 1,300 Israelis and wounded 3,000 on Oct. 7, said Gamliel.
“This is only the beginning,” Gamliel told JNS. “Hamas terrorists will have nowhere to hide. Anywhere there are terrorists [in Gaza] will be turned into ruins.”
The intelligence minister said that the Gaza-based terror group operated “exactly like Islamic State” in their indiscriminate targeting of civilians, including women, children, the elderly and the disabled. Videos of the gruesome killings have been shared with the U.S. administration as well as with other allied countries, she added.
Israel’s suspension of food, water, electricity and fuel to the coastal strip, which has been criticized by the European Union and the United Nations, was open-ended, said Gamliel.
“A country under attack cannot continue to support its aggressors,” she added. “Israel has no legal obligation to give an enemy that massacred our civilians additional resources in order to keep trying to murder us.”
Israel had been repaid for its years of such support with the massacre of its civilians, said Gamliel.
Israeli Energy Minister Israel Katz said Thursday that the restrictions on Gaza would remain in place until Hamas frees the estimated 150 hostages it abducted on Oct. 7 and is holding there.
“Not a single switch will be flipped on, not a single faucet will be turned on and not a single fuel truck will enter until the Israeli hostages are returned home,” Katz said on social media.
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Thursday that he was holding discussions with Israel and regional leaders about setting up a humanitarian corridor for Palestinian civilians in Gaza.
The Intelligence Minister, whose office focuses exclusively on Iran, declined to discuss the colossal intelligence failure which allowed Hamas’s unprecedented slaughter of Israeli civilians, saying the focus now necessarily needed to be winning the war.
“It will all be investigated and checked,” she said.
Gamliel, who has promoted a national unity government during months of internal division in Israel, welcomed the establishment of the emergency wartime government on Wednesday, which she said was a societal imperative for victory.
“Only together we will win, and move from tragedy to triumph” she concluded.