Former Secretary of Defense Mark Esper said Thursday that the key to eliminating the terrorist group Hamas in Gaza is to confront terrorist state Iran "once and for all."
Esper, Department of Defense chief under then-President Donald Trump from 2019-20, made the comments during an interview on "CBS Mornings."
"To ultimately defeat Hamas in the extent that we understand it [in] military terms, you have to prevent their ability to reconstitute their military forces," Esper said. "To do that, that means you have to deal with Iran once and for all. You have to cut off the supply of arms and money and other support. And that's the bigger issue that we're not facing."
The Biden administration said last month that Iran was "broadly complicit" in Hamas' Oct. 7 incursion and massacre of 1,200 inside Israel, mostly civilians.
Esper added that Israel "absolutely" is doing the right thing in its march toward eradicating Hamas. Israel Defense Forces said Thursday that it gained operational control over Gaza Harbor, which was run by Hamas and used as a training facility for its terrorist attacks.
Also Thursday, White House national security spokesperson John Kirby said the U.S. is involved in "intense negotiations" with Hamas for the release of hostages. Roughly 240 hostages were taken into Gaza by Hamas, and President Joe Biden said Wednesday that the U.S. believed there were "somewhere between 50 and 100 hostages" remaining.
Mark Swanson, a Newsmax writer and editor, has nearly three decades of experience covering news, culture and politics.
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