The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) have mobilized infantry, armor (tanks), artillery, logistics, combat intelligence, and combat engineering troops and all are preparing for their missions for the next phase of operations against Hamas terrorists in Gaza, according to IDF International spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Jonathan Conricus.
Conricus appeared Wednesday on CBN’s The 700 Club and gave an update on Israel’s five-day war against the terrorists who invaded over the weekend.
Host Gordon Robertson asked Conricus about attempts to rescue the approximately 160 hostages, and how the IDF will respond if Hamas militants use the hostages as human shields.
“The complexity of the current situation is unprecedented,” the IDF lieutenant colonel replied. “Never before have we faced such a situation where so many Israelis are at the hands or at the mercy of a ruthless terror organization.”
“By the way, many of the hostages are dual nationals — Americans, Brits, Germans, French, Italians, Brazilians, and many other nationalities. Some are not even Israelis. There are Thai workers that were taken, and abducted for, I don’t know what reason. Maybe only as a show of force and that they could take these people,” Conricus added.
“But the military reality is that we’re going to have to focus on dismantling Hamas’ military capability,” he said. “That is what the IDF will be doing and focusing on as this operation evolves and goes forward. We’re currently striking from the air quite significantly. And as the operation unfolds, we will continue and develop our military operations.”
When asked if there had been any analysis at this point to explain the intelligence breakdown that failed to discover any of Hamas’ plans for Saturday’s invasion into Israel, Conricus said the IDF continues to investigate and is eager to learn and understand how it happened, “so it won’t happen again.”
Besides questions about the intelligence failure, he also said there are many questions being asked by Israeli civilians as to how and why this happened.
“They will get answered by the IDF in due time,” Conricus said. “The people of Israel deserve those answers, but they will be given at the end of the fighting, once the last Hamas terrorist is either dead or has surrendered, and we have dismantled Hamas’ military capabilities. Then will come the time of all of those after-action reviews and of reckoning and of understanding how it happened and how we can prevent it in the future.”
On the global front, even though Israel has not even had the time to properly bury its dead, the U.N. is already criticizing the Jewish state over its response to the terror attacks. Robertson asked the IDF spokesman about how Israel will respond to the international community since the U.N. human rights chief has condemned Israel’s actions in Gaza.
“I agree with you totally on the absurdity of the situation,” Conricus replied. “Israeli blood has barely dried and already there are people in organizations that find it fit to focus on Israeli activity. I find that actually despicable.”
“I would like to say that we are strengthened by significant shows of support from around the world. Capitals being lit in Israeli colors and wall-to-wall signs of support by the (British) Parliament, and by, of course, the U.S., Congress, and the Senate. And clear, unequivocal statements by many of the free and democratic countries around the world saying, ‘We stand with Israel and Israel has every right to defend itself,'” he continued.
“As a person, I always try to support the good. And the good in this case is U.S. support and many other free countries that understand the severity, the unprecedented situation here, and are standing by Israel, not only in words but in deeds,” the IDF spokesman said. “(It was) very welcoming to see U.S. Central Command issuing a statement and moving troops. There is a U.S. battle group on its way in the eastern Mediterranean to make sure that all of the other enemies understand that attacking Israel at this time would be a very fool-hearted endeavor.”
“Like always, people for some not understandable reason have this urge to criticize Israel. But we will focus on the job, and we will not be deterred or weakened. And our resolve will be strong until we dismantle Hamas’ military capabilities in Gaza and make sure that this will never happen again,” Conricus noted.
Robertson also mentioned his concern about the terror group Hezbollah attacking Israel’s northern border from southern Lebanon and asked what the IDF spokesperson thought about the likelihood that this could erupt into a much larger conflict.
“The fact that we are fighting on the ground in Gaza does not minimize the fact that we are focusing and are very vigilant on what’s happening in the north,” Conricus responded. “There have already been attacks on Israel from the north, including Hezbollah firing missiles multiple times towards Israeli troops. We have responded and so far, it hasn’t crossed a certain threshold of casualties and severity. But we have mobilized troops to the north, and we are prepared.”
“Israel can now, we could say, have active combat operations on three fronts. Gaza, the primary sector of operations, and currently looking at operations on the Lebanese front, and on the Syrian front. All of these fronts have been active. There has been fire toward Israel,” he continued.
“The common denominator on all of these fronts is Iranian money, Iranian guidance, Iranian weapons, and most importantly, vicious Iranian ideology which tries to use proxies in order to fight against Israel,” the IDF lieutenant colonel explained.
Upon the conclusion of the interview, Robertson thanked Conricus for appearing on the show and told him, “We stand strong with you. and we stand with you as you eliminate Hamas. It’s time for Hamas to no longer exist.”