Following the October 7th terror attack on southern Israel, a security cabinet member told ABC News that the Israeli military has the authorization to enter Gaza at its discretion. Economy Minister Nir Barakat said that, in the pursuit of dismantling Hamas, the well-being of hostages and civilian casualties would be of secondary concern. He said the tunnel network constructed by Hamas will become the “world’s largest cemetery.”
“We shall do all efforts to bring our hostages, to bring our hostages alive,” he told the network. Adding, the “first and last priority” is to take out Hamas.
Agriculture Minister Avi Dichter, the former head of the Israel Security Agency (Shin Bet), noted that Hamas and Islamic Jihad collectively have around 50,000 fighters.