Bibi: War is far from over; Sinwar: Israel is losing

Netanyahu again rebuffs American pressure to “wrap up” Gaza war, while Hamas leader inflates IDF casualties.

By Israel Today Staff | | Topics: Gaza, Hamas
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visits Israel Defense Forces troops in the Gaza Strip, Nov. 26, 2023. Photo by Avi Ohayon/GPO.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visits Israel Defense Forces troops in the Gaza Strip, Nov. 26, 2023. Photo by Avi Ohayon/GPO.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visited the troops in Gaza on Monday, and reiterated that the war against Hamas is far from over, even as the Biden administration continues to press Jerusalem to wrap up the “high-intensity” phase of the conflict.

Meanwhile, Gaza-based Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar issued his first public statement since October 7, claiming that Israel had lost far more soldiers than it admits in clashes with his terrorist forces.

“We are not stopping; we are continuing to battle. We will be intensifying the fighting in the coming days, as this will be a long war. It is not close to over,” Netanyahu told soldiers.

“We are proud of you and trust you. We see the determination and the desire to continue until the end,” he added.

Netanyahu was joined by Israel Defense Forces Deputy Chief of Staff Maj. Gen. Amir Baram and other high-ranking officers.

On the front lines. Photo: GPO

In a Christmas message delivered Sunday night, the premier explained that the Jewish state was confronting “monsters who murdered children in front of their parents and parents in front of their children, who raped and beheaded women, who burned babies alive, who took babies hostages.

“This is a battle not only of Israel against these barbarians, it’s a battle of civilization against barbarism,” said Netanyahu.

 

American pressure?

Earlier Sunday, the Israeli leader said he had told US President Joe Biden that the war would continue for “however long it takes.

“I appreciate the steadfast US position—which supports our war effort—in the UN Security Council. I told President Biden yesterday that we will fight until absolute victory,” said Netanyahu.

The prime minister denied “erroneous reports” claiming the US had prevented Israel from taking action against other hostile entities in the region. (The Wall Street Journal reported on Saturday that Biden blocked Israel from attacking Hezbollah on Oct. 11, four days after Hamas’s massacre of some 1,200 people in the northwestern Negev.)

“Our decisions in the war are based on our operational considerations, and I will not expand further. They are not dictated by external pressure. The decision on how to use our forces is an independent decision of the IDF and nobody else,” said Netanyahu.

Hamas senior leader in Gaza Yahya Sinwar attends a rally in Gaza City celebrating the Islamist movement’s 31st anniversary, Dec. 16, 2018. Photo by Abed Rahim Khatib/Flash90.

Hamas leader Sinwar claims ‘occupation army suffering heavy losses’

Hamas terror leader in Gaza Yahya Sinwar on Monday delivered his first public message since the terror group’s Oct. 7 massacre and the ensuing war.

While admitting that the terror group is facing a “fierce, violent and unprecedented battle” against Israel, Sinwar claimed in the letter to the Hamas political bureau that “the occupation army is suffering heavy losses in life and equipment.”

Sinwar claimed that the Izz ad-Din al-Kassam Brigades (the “military wing” of Hamas) had killed over a thousand Israeli soldiers. According to the Israel Defense Forces, 156 soldiers have been killed since the start of ground operations in Gaza on Oct. 27, and 489 military personnel in total have lost their lives since the war began on Oct. 7.

He also gave inflated numbers of Israeli soldiers wounded and military vehicles destroyed during the war.

If Sinwar is talking about casualties during the IDF ground war in Gaza, then he is either delusional, or disconnected and being fed lies by his own men.

Of course, Sinwar could be referring to the total number of Israelis killed by Hamas since the morning of October 7.

While every Palestinian is seen as a civilian, every Israeli is seen as a soldier.

 

Israeli troops are closing in

The statement, on the 80th day of the war, comes amid recent reports that the IDF is hot on the heels of Sinwar, one of the masterminds of the Oct. 7 massacre, along with leader of Izz ad-Din al-Kassam, Mohammed Deif.

Sinwar is believed to be hiding in the Khan Yunis area of the southern Gaza Strip. He is thought to have escaped from the north by hiding in a humanitarian convoy.

Israeli troops have twice managed to reach tunnels in which Sinwar was believed to be hiding, with the terror chief narrowly escaping, according to the IDF. Intelligence indicates that Sinwar is moving around constantly in an effort to avoid being killed or captured; Israeli forces have orders to eliminate the terror organization’s top leadership.

During the manhunt, troops also uncovered a space in which Deif had previously hidden.

Sinwar’s death is only a matter of time, a senior Biden administration official said on Dec. 14, pledging that “justice will be served.”

Coinciding with a visit to the region by US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan, the official, who spoke to reporters for 35 minutes from a car in Tel Aviv, said: “I think it’s safe to say his days are numbered,” of Sinwar. “He has American blood on his hands.”

With reporting by JNS.