Netanyahu says two-thirds of Hamas' fighting forces have been eliminated

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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has announced that two-thirds of Hamas’s fighting forces have been eliminated in the Gaza Strip. 

Netanyahu said during a news conference in Tel Aviv Thursday that “There are two stages to the fighting; The first is destroying the Hamas regiments, those are their organized combat frameworks,” according to Reuters. 

“Up until now sixteen or seventeen out of twenty four have been destroyed. After that there is the [stage] of clearing the territory [of militants],” he reportedly continued. “The first action is usually shorter, the second usually takes longer.” 

Netanyahu also said “Victory will take many more months but we are determined to achieve it,” Reuters reports. 

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Israeli soldiers on tank

Israeli soldiers on a tank overlook the Gaza Strip on Friday, Jan. 19. (AP/Maya Alleruzzo)

Yesterday, U.S. State Department spokesman Matthew Miller told reporters during a briefing that “The conflict in Gaza is going to end. It will end.” 

When pressed about a timeline, Miller said “I am not going to make predictions about it. 

“But we do believe that this conflict as all conflicts do will end at some point and that there needs to be a political path forward for the establishment of a Palestinian state,” he added. 

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Netanyahu news conference

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks in Tel Aviv, Israel, on Thursday, Jan. 18. (GPO/Reuters)

One of the Hamas officials taken out by the Israel Defense Forces this week was Bilal Nofal, who was “in charge of investigating suspects of espionage” against the terrorist group in the Gaza Strip. 

The IDF said in a statement Wednesday that Israel’s Shin Bet intelligence agency helped coordinate the elimination of Nofal, and the operation was conducted using an Air Force plane.  

Israel tank

An Israeli army tank moves near the Israeli-Gaza border in southern Israel on Wednesday, Jan. 17. (AP/Ohad Zwigenberg)

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“Nofal took part in the development of the organization’s research and learning methods,” the IDF said. “His elimination constitutes an injury to the terrorist organization’s learning and strengthening capabilities.” 

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