Israeli Defense Forces spokesperson Lt. Col. Peter Lerner told Newsmax on Wednesday that Israel is currently focused on bringing home "as many hostages as possible" during the ongoing ceasefire with Hamas.
When asked about the status of the ceasefire, Lerner said on "National Report" that Israel is "continuing to hold our defensive positions in northern Gaza, out, conducting our logistical operations, and gathering more intelligence as time goes by."
He later added, "We are holding our fire in order to enable and ensure a swift release of hostages … we have released up until now 81 hostages, 61 Israelis and another 20 dual nationals, so the efforts currently are to bring home as many hostages as possible, and that is currently what we are involved in."
Lerner was also asked about New York Democrat Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's recent claim that U.S. aid is being used to commit human rights violations in Gaza.
He said, "my role as an IDF spokesperson is to relate on the IDF activities, not on politician's comments on the situation."
Lerner said, "We have extensive, even intimate operational relations with the U.S. defense establishment and of course that is a reflection of what is happening and the dialogue that is taking place on the political level."
The lieutenant colonel added, "We appreciate and are very attentive to the comments of the [Biden] administration and our American colleagues in the defense establishment."
Lerner noted that Israel is "conducting our military activities in the framework of the laws of armed conflict" while simultaneously "conducting an extensive humanitarian effort in order" in the region.
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Theodore Bunker ✉
Theodore Bunker, a Newsmax writer, has more than a decade covering news, media, and politics.
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