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Air Force Chief: IDF Poised to Combat Hezbollah, Nearing Victory Over Hamas in Gaza

Israeli Air Force Prepares for Potential Northern Front Amid Ongoing Gaza Conflict

The head of Israel’s air force, Maj. Gen. Tomer Bar, announced on Thursday that the Hamas terror group is nearing defeat and that the Israeli military is prepared to shift its focus to potential conflicts with Hezbollah in the north. Speaking at a graduation ceremony for new air force pilots, Bar highlighted the prolonged nature of the current conflict.

“We are in the midst of the longest war in our history since the War of Independence,” Bar stated. “We have been fighting for almost nine months without respite, tirelessly. Hamas in Gaza will be defeated soon.”

Bar’s comments are the latest from Israeli officials suggesting that the war in Gaza, sparked by the October 7 attack, is approaching a phase where Hamas can no longer sustain an effective fighting force. Despite this, top Hamas leaders like Gaza chief Yahya Sinwar and armed wing head Mohammed Deif remain at large.

Earlier this week, IDF Chief of Staff Herzi Halevi indicated that Hamas would soon be defeated to the extent that it would be unable to function as a cohesive fighting unit. Halevi noted that significant progress has been made against Hamas factions in the north and center of Gaza, including the near defeat of the Rafah Brigade.

Bar reiterated that the primary objectives of the ongoing conflict are to bring hostages home and ensure the safe return of evacuees in both the North and South of Israel. He acknowledged the high cost of the conflict, stating, “We’ve lost many soldiers and officers who fought bravely. The price is dear, but the goal is unparalleled: Dismantle Hamas, kill its terrorists, destroy its infrastructure, and not allow its continued rule.”

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has emphasized that the main goals are to recover hostages and eliminate Hamas. Despite the long war, Bar assured that Israel is ready to confront Hezbollah if necessary. “We are ready to face Hezbollah in the north,” he said. “We have the means for this, we have the capabilities, we certainly have the patience and fighting spirit.”

Tensions with Hezbollah have escalated in recent weeks, with near-daily cross-border attacks. On Thursday, Hezbollah launched around 40 rockets at northern Israel following Israeli airstrikes in Lebanon, which included the killing of a Hezbollah operative.

A senior US official told Politico that the risk of war between Israel and Hezbollah is higher than it has been in weeks. The official mentioned that a major attack by either side, which could trigger a full-scale war, could occur with little notice.

US and Israeli officials hope that an easing of the fighting in Gaza might reduce Hezbollah’s attacks, which are purportedly intended to support Hamas.

The war in Gaza erupted on October 7 with Hamas’s unprecedented attack on Israel’s South, resulting in the murder of approximately 1,200 people, mostly civilians, and the taking of 251 hostages. The Hamas-run Gaza health ministry claims over 37,500 people in the Strip have been killed or are presumed dead, though these numbers cannot be independently verified. Israel reports having killed around 15,000 combatants and 1,000 terrorists inside Israel during the October 7 attack.

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