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Israeli Defense Minister says Hamas has ‘ceased to function as a military organization’

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

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

Gallant reported on Israel’s progress in dismantling Hamas in Gaza, as well as ongoing efforts to return hostages captured during the militant group’s brutal attack on October 7 that left 1,200 people 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 structures in most of the Gaza Strip have ceased to function and…” “Information from terrorist interrogations shows an organization that is falling apart,” Gallant said.

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

What remains of the terrorist group is the four-battalion Rafah Brigade – and that too will soon be eliminated, Gallant said, adding that its intelligence resources have been severely cut.

Gallant said Israel is fighting a war on multiple fronts, “both offensive and defensive.”

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“We see evidence of this every day, including in the last few days,” Gallant told the Israeli parliament’s Defense and Foreign Affairs Committee. “We operate everywhere every day to prevent our enemies from gaining strength and to make it clear to anyone who acts against us – anywhere in the Middle East – that the price of taking action against Israel will be high.”

Al-Shifa Hospital

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

Those comments followed an airstrike on the Iranian consulate in the Syrian capital Damascus the day before, which killed 12 people, including two Iranian generals and a member of the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah.

Israel has repeatedly attacked Iranian officers in Syria and Lebanon but has not confirmed Monday’s attack.

Meanwhile, an Israeli airstrike reportedly killed seven World Central Kitchen employees in Gaza on Tuesday. The nonprofits, including World Central Kitchen, said they need to determine whether their staff can safely provide assistance in the area.

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Nearly six months after the war began, Israel’s offensive in Gaza has killed nearly 33,000 Palestinians, according to the Hamas-run Health Ministry – although Israel has disputed those figures. The ministry does not distinguish between civilians killed and combatants, but claims that about two-thirds of the dead were women and children.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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