IDF Spokesman R.-Adm. Daniel Hagari said that the fight against Hamas will continue despite the impending hostage deal and war pause, expressing that the war has set goals and will take a long time to achieve them. He emphasized that any pause would only be temporary and not a long-term ceasefire, stressing that the IDF’s goals are to destroy Hamas, establish better borders, and deter all of Israel’s enemies. While no officials have confirmed, there are talks of the ground invasion of Gaza lasting at least a few more weeks to the end of January, with the next stage involving combating an expected insurgency and establishing new governance, which could take much longer.
According to IDF sources, the duration of the impending pause will affect the adjustments made to the timeline. Hagari also mentioned that the IDF will ensure the safety of its soldiers, maintain any invasion achievements, and deter violations of the pause, should it go through. New photos of IDF soldiers inspecting a large tunnel in the Shifa Hospital area were also shared, with potential for more findings of Hamas’s operation.
Earlier, Defense Minister Yoav Gallant held a situational assessment with Southern Commander Maj.-Gen. Yaron Finkelman and Brig.-Gen. Avi Rosenfeld, stating that difficult decisions will have to be made to defeat Hamas and bring back the hostages. Likewise, Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Herzi Halevi spoke about the hostages, expressing the determination to follow the road and bring their achievements to the maximum, including dismantling Hamas, creating security, and returning the hostages.
In recent operations, soldiers in the Maglan unit executed precision missile strikes and successfully confronted terrorist threats in Gaza. They utilized advanced weaponry and neutralized over 70 targets. The IDF also updated that two more soldiers had fallen in battle in Gaza. Additionally, a rocket fired by Hamas impacted Highway 431 near Rishon Lezion, with no reported casualties at the time of press.