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Israel defence minister says '60 percent' of Hamas dead or wounded

Israel's Defence Minister Yoav Gallant said Wednesday that 60 percent of Hamas fighters had been "eliminated or wounded" in the Gaza war since the militant group's October 7 attacks.

Gallant reaffirmed in a statement to parliament on the first nine months of the conflict that Israel was "determined" to meet its war goals of eradicating Hamas and bringing all hostages back from Gaza.

The minister praised Israeli soldiers for "performing their work with dedication, sacrifice and success" and said "the achievements are many".

Israel has launched major new offensives in Gaza City in the north and around Rafah and Khan Yunis in the south, even as it also embarks on contacts with international mediators on conditions for negotiating a truce with Hamas.

"We have eliminated or wounded 60 percent of the Hamas terrorists" and "dismantled" most the Palestinian group's 24 battalions, Gallant said.

The minister did not give figures for the casualties and the Israeli military said it did not immediately have statistics.

The October 7 attack on southern Israel resulted in the deaths of 1,195 people, mostly civilians, according to an AFP tally based on Israeli figures.

The militants also seized 251 hostages, 116 of whom remain in Gaza, including 42 the military says are dead.

Israel's military retaliation has killed at least 38,295 people in Gaza, also mostly civilians, according to figures from the Hamas-run territory's health ministry.

While many countries expressed solidarity with Israel after the October 7 attacks, the government has also faced a wave of criticism for its military campaign that has devastated Gaza.

Gallant insisted Israel would stick to its aims.

"We have returned half of the hostages and we are determined to return the rest," he said.

"The security establishment, and myself heading it, are determined to achieve the goals of the war and complete them."

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