IDF Chief of Staff Herzi Halevi said that soldiers' "achievements - another battalion that you dismantle, another underground infrastructure destroyed, another neighborhood where the population is evacuated to a safe space - all these things put positive pressure on the matter of releasing the hostages," during a situational assessment with other high-ranking IDF officers in the northern Gaza Strip on Saturday.

He commented further on the release of hostages, saying, "We are currently in the days of negotiations on the release of the hostages; I don't know this will develop; there are those whose job is to deal with Gaza; our job is to deal with fighting."

He ended his assessment with a statement on positive progressions of the combat, saying,"[Our progress in the Gaza Strip] is the lever that we are lowering on Hamas, and you are lowering it very well; we need to continue to lower it even harder, I hope we will be able to translate the pressure into the release of the hostages as well.'