| 23 February 2024, Friday |

Israel: Army will resume fighting Hamas ‘with determination’ at end of ‘pause’

Israel’s army will return to fighting Hamas “with determination” once the humanitarian truce in the Gaza Strip ends, said Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Herzi Halevi on Sunday.

“The [Israeli army] and its soldiers fight fiercely to protect the lives of our people while upholding the values of the [Israeli army]. We have created conditions for the framework for the release of the first group of children and mothers held hostage during this pause,” Halevi said in a statement.

He added: “When the framework is completed, we will return to our operations with determination, for the continued release of the hostages and the complete dismantlement of Hamas.”

Halevi addressed Israeli military soldiers and commanders saying: “I met many of you at the end of long hours of fighting both above and underground, facing complex challenges. In every encounter, I saw reflected in your eyes the magnitude of the moment, the fighting spirit and determination to achieve all the objectives of the war. I heard you tell me: ‘We want to fight until we return the hostages.’ And so we are doing just that!”

Halevi had reiterated on Saturday that the Israeli military will immediately return to striking in the Gaza Strip once the humanitarian pause with Hamas ends.

“We do not intend, do not want, and are not ready to stop this effort before we return all the hostages… it is our moral duty to bring them back,” Halevi spoke of the hostages held by Hamas as cited by the Times of Israel.

The Israeli commander said the army was using this pause in fighting to “study, to better prepare our abilities and also to rest a little.”

“And we will return immediately at the end of the ceasefire to attacking Gaza, to maneuver in Gaza. We will do it to dismantle Hamas and also to create great pressure to return as quickly as possible and as many hostages as possible, down to the last one of them,” he said.

Hamas had announced on Wednesday that an agreement regarding a four-day humanitarian pause in the Gaza Strip had been reached through the mediation of Qatar and Egypt.

The humanitarian truce included the cessation of all hostilities from both sides, a halt of all Israeli military actions in all areas of the Gaza Strip, hundreds of trucks carrying humanitarian, relief, and medical aid will reach all areas of the Gaza Strip without exception, and that Hamas will release 50 hostages from the Gaza Strip and in return, 150 Palestinian prisoners will be released from Israeli prisons.


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