Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant said Monday that Israel has no intention of remaining permanently in the Gaza Strip. In addition, he said he was open to discussing alternatives about who would control that Palestinian territory. But he clarified that this group should not be hostile towards the Jewish State.
The defense minister also said they were open to the possibility of reaching an agreement with the terrorist group Hezbollah. And he added that such an agreement must include a safe zone along the border and adequate guarantees.
Besides, The Israeli Army assured today that in the last month it detained more than 500 terrorists in Gaza Hamas members and of the Islamic Jihadwhile continuing its military offensive on the Strip.
“More than 500 Hamas and Islamic Jihad terrorists were detained by Israeli and IDF troops. Interior Intelligence Service (Shin Bet) during the last month”, after which they were transferred “for interrogation” by the Security and Intelligence apparatus, a military spokesperson announced in a statement.
Since the end of the week-long truce that broke on Dec. 1, Israeli forces “detained approximately 140 Hamas and Islamic Jihad terrorists,” including “some who voluntarily surrendered and were transferred by Hamas field interrogators.” Unit 504 of the Intelligence Directorate and the Shin Bet for further interrogation,” the Army said.
According to him, in November he also detained “a total of 350 Hamas terrorist agents” and “more than 120 from the Islamic Jihad.”
“Total, more than 500 terrorist agents were arrested”, part of them “while hiding inside buildings, schools and civilian shelters.”
After that, interrogations and “investigations yielded intelligence information that helped locate additional terrorist agents, as well as Army security” in its operation in Gaza, where Palestinian militias continue to fight.
In recent days, images have been spread on networks showing Israeli soldiers arresting Palestinians in the streets of Gaza who are on their knees, half-naked, handcuffed or blindfolded, and who are being taken away in military vans.
Israel assured that it was men of military age who were taken for interrogation for possible ties to Hamas and after being found in areas of the north and Gaza City from where they did not leave.
All this while the Israeli authorities assure that there are more and more Hamas members who surrender to the Israeli troops, something that was reiterated this afternoon by the Minister of Defense, Yoav Gallant, who assured that hundreds of people have already surrendered.
“Whoever surrenders, his life is spared”he added, adding that they and any other senior Hamas commander only have the option of “surrender or die.”
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu yesterday also urged Hamas terrorists to hand over their weapons before dying for their leader Yahya Sinwar, who Israeli forces are now searching for inside the Strip, where they believe he is hiding in tunnels.
“I tell the Hamas terrorists: it’s over. “Do not die for Sinwar,” Netanyahu said according to a statement released by his office, in which he assured that “the beginning of the end” of the Islamist group has arrived and that “in recent days, dozens of Hamas terrorists have surrendered.” .
Netanyahu insisted that the fighting in Gaza continues “in full force” and that “justice is on our side,” as Israel is “united as a people and as a country, and there is no force that can stop us from doing the right thing.”
“The war continues with even more force and intensity in the north of Gaza and in the south, to achieve all its objectives: the elimination of Hamas“, the return of all our kidnapped people and the promise that Gaza will never again be a threat to Israel,” he noted.