IDF Chief Halevi: Gaza war may take months, IDF targeting Hamas leaders

IDF Chief-of-Staff Lt.-Gen. Herzi Halevi on Tuesday said that it could even take months to arrest or kill Hamas’s top leaders and “many months” to finish fighting Hamas.

Halevi implied that he recognized the broader diplomatic and political context will not allow a full all-out war for that long and said that the IDF would adjust itself to different intensity levels of fighting as needed.

The IDF chief also said that Israel would need new security mechanisms and tactics even after the different levels of fighting became less intense to ensure long-term security for Israeli residents in the South.

A complex environment

“This war has critical goals which are not easy to achieve and takes place in a complex environment. Therefore, this war will continue for many months, and we will act in different ways so that our achievements will be sustained over time,” said Halevi.

He said, “We will also get to the leaders of Hamas, whether it takes a week or months.”

Major General Herzi Halevi, Commanding Officer of the IDF Southern Command speaks during the conference of the Israeli Television News Company in Jerusalem on March 7, 2021. (credit: YONATAN SINDEL/FLASH90)

Further, Halevi described the IDF as having operational control of northern Gaza while recognizing that Hamas forces who faded into the civilian populations will still emerge with ambushes from time to time.

Next, he said the IDF must ramp up its dominance in southern Gaza, where Khan Younis is the new focal point, and also make sure it addresses Hamas in central Gaza, even as that mission is somewhat lower profile.