White House National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby suggested Thursday that it’s unlikely that the ideology of the Palestinian terrorist group Hamas can be eradicated by Israel’s military operations.
Kirby spoke a day after President Biden said he thinks Israel’s military operation in Gaza will stop when Hamas “no longer maintains the capacity to murder, abuse and do horrific things to the Israelis.”
“What we have learned through our own experiences … through military and other means, you can absolutely have a significant impact on [a] terrorist group’s ability to resource itself, to train fighters, to recruit fighters, to plan and to execute attacks,” Kirby said Thursday during a briefing.
“I mean, look at the shadow of itself that ISIS is right now, look at the shadow of itself that al Qaeda is right now. That doesn’t mean that the ideology also withers away and dies,” he continued. “But you can absolutely have a practical, meaningful effect on a terrorist organization’s ability to conduct and execute its attacks.”
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Kirby also said that “Hamas leaders have come out publicly since Oct. 7 and said that their intention is to attack Israel again and again and again, and they’ve said, quite frankly, that they want to remove that country from the face of the Earth.”
“So, that is the threat that the Israeli people are facing from Hamas,” he added. “And that is the threat that they are militarily trying to minimize and reduce.”
The Israel-Hamas war, as of Thursday, has been unfolding for nearly six weeks.
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Speaking at a press conference after his meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday, Biden called on the Israeli military to exercise caution as it pursues Hamas military targets near civilian infrastructure. He said the Israel Defense Forces has “an obligation to use as much caution as they can in going after their targets.”
However, he added, “Hamas said they plan to attack Israelis again, and this is a terrible dilemma.”
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Biden and his administration have remained steadfast in support of Israel’s ongoing war against Hamas. U.S. officials have strongly condemned the Oct. 7 terror attacks on Israel in which Hamas terrorists infiltrated the Jewish state and massacred as many as 1,200 people, taking some 240 back to Gaza as hostages.
Fox News’ Chris Pandolfo contributed to this report.