Israel defense minister says Hamas has ‘ceased to function as a military organization’

Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant said Tuesday that Hamas has “ceased to function as a military organization in most parts of the Gaza Strip.”...CONTINUE READING

The comments from Gallant came during an operational briefing before Israel’s Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee in Tel Aviv.

Gallant relayed Israel’s progress in dismantling Hamas in the Gaza Strip as well as ongoing efforts to return hostages taken during the militant group’s brutal attack on Oct. 7 that left 1,200 dead.

“Hamas has ceased to function as a military organization in most parts of the Gaza Strip. Its commanders are hiding in tunnels, it has lost its command and control capabilities, the battalion frameworks in most parts of the Gaza Strip have ceased to function and the information received from terrorist interrogations attests to an organization that is falling apart,” Gallant said.

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Israeli Minister of Defense Yoav Gallant speaks during a meeting with U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin at the Pentagon on March 26, 2024 in Arlington, Virginia. (Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)

What remains of the terrorist group is the Rafah Brigade, with four battalions – and those too will be dealt with soon, Gallant said, adding that its intelligence resources have been severely diminished.

Gallant said Israel was fighting a war on multiple fronts “both offensively and defensively.”

“We see evidence of this every day, including over the last few days,” said Gallant, speaking to the Israeli parliament’s Defense and Foreign Affairs Committee. “We operate everywhere, every day, in order to prevent our enemies from gaining strength and in order to make it clear to anyone who acts against us — all over the Middle East — that the price for action against Israel will be a heavy one.”

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Smoke rises during an Israeli strike in the vicinity of the al-Shifa hospital in Gaza City on March 28, 2024, amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and the Palestinian Hamas group. (AFP)

These comments followed an airstrike on Iran’s Consulate in the Syrian capital of Damascus the day prior that killed 12 people, including two Iranian generals and a member of the Lebanese militant group, Hezbollah.

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Israel has repeatedly targeted Iranian officers in Syria and Lebanon but did not confirm Monday’s attack.

Meanwhile, an Israeli airstrike reportedly killed seven World Central Kitchen workers in Gaza on Tuesday. The nonprofits, including World Central Kitchen, said they needed to determine whether their workers can safely provide aid in the region.

Nearly six months into the war, Israel’s offensive in Gaza has killed nearly 33,000 Palestinians, according to figures from the Hamas-run Health Ministry – though Israel has disputed these figures. The Ministry does not distinguish between civilians and combatants killed, though it claims that women and children make up about two-thirds of the dead.