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US intelligence officials tell Congress Israel not close to destroying Hamas

Report comes as Biden administration becomes openly critical of Israel’s war effort

Israeli forces in Gaza (Photo: IDF)

U.S. intelligence officials briefed members of Congress this week on Israel's war effort against Hamas in Gaza, according to a New York Times report.

The officials reportedly said that while Israel had significantly degraded Hamas’ military capabilities, it was not close to eliminating Hamas. 

According to NYT, the officials said that eliminating Hamas would be extremely difficult because it “operates like a guerrilla force, hidden in a network of tunnels that are difficult to penetrate.” 

During his meeting with U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Israel will not give up until it has eliminated Hamas

Blinken, meanwhile, expressed concern over the state of the war, as the IDF has announced it will soon move into the terror organization's remaining stronghold in the southern town of Rafah, near the Egyptian border. 

The U.S. Biden administration is becoming increasingly critical of Israel as the war extends into its fourth month. 

With the latest hostage negotiations allegedly deadlocked over what Netanyahu called Hamas’ “delusional” terms, the Israeli War Cabinet is pushing ahead with military operations in the southern Gaza Strip. 

“I would like to emphasize again – there is no other solution than total victory,” Netanyahu said, claiming that failure to defeat Hamas would mean that “it is only a matter of time until the next massacre.” 

Earlier this week, in a Likud party meeting, Netanyahu claimed that Israel has destroyed 18 of Hamas’ 24 battalions. 

He also appeared to revise his previous statements about the war lasting into 2025, stating that achieving victory would happen soon: “It will take time – months, not years.” 

Netanyahu, despite apparent pressure from the U.S. to reduce IDF military activity in Gaza, has appeared to strengthen his political rhetoric about “total victory.” 

While speaking to a group of soldiers on Monday, Netanyahu used the phrase “total victory” 11 times. 

“We are on the way to total victory, and I want to tell you that we are committed to it, and we will not give up on it. We will not end the war without achieving this goal of total victory,” Netanyahu stated. 

He also said that eliminating Hamas leadership and freeing the hostages were part of that total victory. 

“We must continue to act in all areas in the Gaza Strip. We must not end the war before then,” Netanyahu said. 

The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.

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