JERUSALEM, Israel – Israel is still mourning the deaths of 21 Israel Defense Forces soldiers killed in Gaza Monday. Despite those deaths, Israeli leaders pledge to continue the war to defeat Hamas.
IDF Chief of Staff Herzi Halevi visited the site Tuesday where the soldiers died. Hamas terrorists fired RPGs at the building where the soldiers were setting explosives.
“We, as always, will investigate the incident in depth and learn the lessons while fighting, so that such an incident will not happen again,” Halevi said.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu mourned along with the nation and pledged to keep fighting.
“We bow our heads to the memory of our fallen, and yet we do not for a moment stop striving for an irreplaceable goal – the achievement of total victory,” Netanyahu exhorted. Together we will fight, and God willing, together we will win.”
Now, 110 days after October 7th, the plight of the hostages remains in the hearts and minds of Israelis. On Tuesday, one of the freed hostages, Aviva Siegal, described life under Hamas captivity.
“I was there for 51 days,” Siegal explained. “There wasn’t a minute that we didn’t go through something, abuse, in all forms. And they are still there, surviving, barely.”
Siegal added, “I want to tell you that the terrorists bring inappropriate clothes, dolls’ clothes. And they turned these girls into their dolls. Puppets on a string. You can do whatever you want with them, whenever you want. And it’s still unbelievable that they are still there.”
U.S. National Security Spokesman John Kirby described the current negotiations to free the hostages as “sober and serious.”
“The focus would rightly be on getting the hostages out – more than 100 that we know Hamas or their affiliates are still holding – and of course, increasing the humanitarian assistance,” Kirby said.
Israeli government spokesman Eylon Levy told CBN News why he wears what he calls “hostage dog tags.”
“You use it as an opportunity to talk about the 253 men, women, and children who were abducted from their beds on October 7,th dragged into the Hamas terror dungeons, some with life-changing injuries, limbs blown off, gunshot wounds to the hands, a third of whom have chronic conditions, who have been held incommunicado without access to the Red Cross,” Levy responded.
He said the government is aware that for the hostages, the clock is ticking.
“Time is running out for them. Time has already run out for those who were executed. And we want all friends, allies and people and nations of conscience around the world to demand their immediate and unconditional release. And until then, to demand that the Red Cross get access to the hostages so it can give them the medical treatment that they desperately need, so they can escape from that hellhole alive and safe.”