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'We are far from stopping,' says IDF chief after 6 months of war; ‘Very significant achievements’ but goals not fully reached

Halevi: Oct. 7 was ‘turning point in Israeli security,’ IDF needs to become larger

IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Herzi Halevi (Photo: IDF)

Following the IDF's announcement that it withdrew most of its forces from the Gaza Strip after six months of intense fighting, IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Herzi Halevi said the Israel Defense Forces reached “very significant achievements” but stressed that the war’s goals still haven’t been fully attained.

“Today marks six months of the war, one which we set out to from a very difficult point. We regained our composure and are fighting with strength and determination,” Halevi said in a Sunday evening press briefing.

Noting that the Hamas invasion and massacre on Oct. 7 was “a turning point in Israeli security,” the general stressed that the army has begun to investigate its failures and understands that it needs to change.

“The IDF needs to be stronger, larger – so that what happened on October 7 is not repeated,” he said.

Despite pulling most of the Israeli troops out of Gaza overnight, Halevi stressed that the war will continue.

“We are far from stopping. Senior Hamas officials are still hiding. We will reach them sooner or later. We are advancing, continuing to eliminate more terrorists and commanders and destroy more terrorist infrastructure.”

“We will not leave any Hamas brigades active – in any part of the Gaza Strip,” he vowed.

Halevi also noted that the IDF continues to facilitate the entry of aid into the Gaza Strip, while Hamas is trying to use the humanitarian situation to pressure Israel into ending the war.

“Hamas tries to take control of the humanitarian aid and prevents its desired distribution, in order to return and control the Gaza Strip… Therefore, we continue to dismantle Hamas.”

He stressed that the IDF continues to make all efforts to return the Israeli hostages, pointedly noting that the negotiations with Hamas should be “conducted responsibly and carefully, and its details should remain in the appropriate rooms.”

“As the chief of the general staff, I personally feel responsible for returning them, and so do the rest of the IDF's commanders and soldiers,” he added.

Israel is in the middle of a “multi-arena war,” Halevi emphasized, noting that Israeli soldiers were active in Gaza, on the northern border, in Judea and Samaria, as well as in “more distant arenas,” a possible nod to the shadow war with Iran amid reports of Israeli strikes in Syria.

Halevi also mentioned the Israeli residents in the north, who have been evacuated from their homes for half a year, vowing to return them only when a secure situation was reached: “It will take more time – that’s the truth.”

“The IDF knows how to deal with Iran – offensively and defensively. We are prepared for this, we have good defensive systems, and we know how to act forcefully against Iran in both near and distant places,” Halevi said, adding that Israel was cooperating with the U.S. and other strategic partners.

While Iran was trying to publicly deny direct involvement in the war, Halevi said, the regime in fact “activates, directs, funds, and transfers knowledge to all its proxies in the region – from Hezbollah, through Judea and Samaria, to Yemen.”

“Iran not only threatens Israel but the entire Western and Arab world – Iran is a global problem, it was and remains the biggest issue.”

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

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