Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visited Israel Defense Forces troops inside the Gaza Strip on Sunday.
According to Netanyahu’s office, the premier held a situational assessment, spoke with commanders and troops and visited a tunnel previously used by the Hamas terrorist organization.
Netanyahu was accompanied by his chief of staff and military secretary, as well as National Security Adviser Tzachi Hanegbi and IDF Deputy Chief of Staff Maj. Gen. Amir Baram.
The visit marked Netanyahu’s first entry into Gaza since the IDF launched “Operation Swords of Iron” against Hamas in the wake of the terror group’s Oct. 7 cross-border assault, in which over 1,200 people were killed and around 240 were abducted.
“We have three goals for this war: Eliminate Hamas, return all our hostages and ensure that Gaza does not become a threat to the State of Israel again,” the premier told soldiers.
“We will continue until the end—until victory,” he continued. “Nothing will stop us, and we are convinced that we have the power, the strength, the will and the determination to achieve all the war’s goals.
“I sat down with the deputy chief of staff and the commanders [and] on the wall was written: ‘The people of Israel lives.’ So the people of Israel lives, and the people of Israel will also win, thanks to you,” Netanyahu said.
Earlier on Sunday, IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Herzi Halevi assured troops in Gaza that the war against Hamas would resume following the ceasefire designed to rescue hostages being held by the terrorists.
“The IDF and its soldiers fight fiercely to protect the lives of our people while upholding the values of the military. We created conditions for the release of the hostages, children and mothers, during this truce,” wrote Halevi.
“When the deal is completed, we will return to our operations with determination, for the continued release of the hostages and the complete dismantlement of Hamas,” he added.
Halevi held an assessment at the IDF’s Southern Command headquarters in Beersheva on Sunday to approve battle plans for after the pause, which is scheduled to end on Tuesday morning but might be extended, the military said.
Meanwhile, during a Sunday visit to Mount Dov in northern Israel, where the Israel-Lebanon border converges with Syria, Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant said he directed the IDF to prepare for “high-intensity combat” in Gaza “as soon as the temporary pause ends.”
“Yesterday, I visited the forces deep inside the Gaza Strip in order to study the situation and see the results of the IDF actions. We can rely on our forces—they are alert, determined, and they have achieved excellent results,” said Gallant.
“Their achievements in the field created the conditions necessary for the return of hostages over recent days,” he claimed, adding: “Every hostage that is brought [back] to the State of Israel is important to us—we will make every possible effort to bring them all home.”
On the northern front, Gallant praised the IDF’s “impressive” achievements against the Hezbollah terror organization, resulting in the “injury and elimination of over 100 Hezbollah terrorists” and the “retreat of Hezbollah forces from the front to deep inside [Lebanese] territory.”
“The combination of all these tactical achievements will translate into a new situation, which will later enable the return of [Israeli] residents [to the northern communities] under completely different conditions than when we started this campaign,” he said.