IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Benny Gantz said Wednesday that Israelis from the Gaza-border region in the South, who fled due to threats from tunnels and continuous Hamas mortar and rocket attacks, can now go home.

“I am convinced that the residents of the Gaza-border communities can return to their homes, grow their fields and return to a good and quality life here,” Gantz said. “The IDF isn’t going anywhere. We’ll stay to defend. We’ll remain deployed, looking for the next challenges. We’ll continue to develop security in this area.”

“Indeed, there is a hot summer here. The fall will come after it, and the rain will wash away the dust from tanks. The fields will turn green... there will be stability here for many years to come,” he stated.

“We’re not done. The military is prepared for anything. Should future events arise, we will know how to respond,” the chief of staff added.

The IDF has greatly damaged Hamas’s infrastructure, its command and control centers, and it destroyed its offensive tunnels, he stressed.

“Our forces are now back [in Israel], reorganizing and continuing to defend the area. They are ready to continue. Hamas sustained a very serious blow to all of its systems. Its commanders, who are sitting in bunkers, underneath sensitive sites they use as cover, will come out, see the extent of the damage that occurred to their fighters, and see the extent of damage in the Gaza Strip, unfortunately, because of Hamas,” said Gantz.

The IDF made every attempt to alert the Gazan population, evacuate it, and to keep its military strikes accurate.

“But the IDF never forgot it has a mission: To protect the citizens of Israel,” Gantz added. “The result in Gaza is destructive. The fault lies with Hamas’s leaders, who caused this by operating in a civilian population indiscriminately.

I hope this lesson will be internalized in a significant way in Gaza, because we’ll not hesitate to continue to use our power if we need to.”

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