JERUSALEM — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu yesterday acknowledged for the first time that he would “have to give answers” for security lapses exposed in the deadly October 7 attacks by Hamas.
“We will examine in detail, we will get to the bottom of it,” said Netanyahu, who has faced a barrage of opposition and media criticism after Gaza militants breached Israeli border defences.
“The fault will be examined and everyone will have to give answers, including me. But all this will happen later,” the right-wing leader said in a televised address as the Israeli military prepares for a widely expected invasion of the Gaza Strip.
“As prime minister I am responsible for securing the future of the country,” he added.
Israel says 1,400 people, most of whom were civilians, died in the attacks.
Gaza’s Hamas government says that Israeli air and artillery bombing since October 7 have left more than 6,500 dead, including some 2,700 children.
With tens of thousands of Israeli troops massed at the Gaza border, Netanyahu said “we are raining down hellfire” with the air strikes and that “all Hamas terrorists are dead men walking — above ground, below ground, outside Gaza”.
“We are preparing the ground offensive,” Netanyahu said.
“I cannot say when, how or how many, nor all the elements that we are taking into account, of which most are not known to the public,” he added.
Netanyahu said Israel’s war cabinet, named after October 7, would “unanimously” decide the time of the offensive.
Israel has an army of about 165,000 and has called up 360,000 reservists, some on the Gaza border and others moved to the border with Lebanon, where the Iranian-backed Hezbollah movement has been staging daily artillery attacks. — AFP