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Business News/ News / Netanyahu Says He’ll Soon Have Plan for Rafah Civilians
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Netanyahu Says He’ll Soon Have Plan for Rafah Civilians

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he’ll have a “plan for action” in hand on Sunday for moving the civilian population out of Rafah in the southern part of the Gaza Strip ahead of expanded military offensive.

Netanyahu Says He’ll Soon Have Plan for Rafah CiviliansPremium
Netanyahu Says He’ll Soon Have Plan for Rafah Civilians

(Bloomberg) -- Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he’ll have a “plan for action" in hand on Sunday for moving the civilian population out of Rafah in the southern part of the Gaza Strip ahead of expanded military offensive.  

“There is no disagreement with me and the US about the need to evacuate the population," Netanyahu said in an interview with CBS’s “Face the Nation."

Israel doesn’t need “prodding" by the US to shield Gaza civilians, he added. The plan will include how to “dismantle" remaining Hamas battalions, Netanyahu said.  

The Israeli leader said people now in Rafah, near the Egyptian border, would be directed north. “There’s room for them to go north of Rafah to the place that we’ve already finished fighting in," Netanyahu said. 

Much of Gaza has been devastated by Israeli air and ground bombardments since October, and most of the million or more civilians now sheltering in Rafah were moved from areas in the north. 

Separately, Netanyahu said he couldn’t predict a timeline for a deal with Hamas on swapping Israeli hostages held in Gaza for Palestinian prisoners in Israel. 

Read more: Israel Pushes Ahead With Rafah Plan Without Precise Strategy

Israeli media reported that talks on Friday involving the Israeli delegation and representatives from the US, Egypt and Qatar had yielded a breakthrough. 

Netanyahu told CBS that Hamas, which is considered a terrorist organization by the US and European Union, first needs to back off “delusional claims" which he didn’t specify. 

An intense Israeli military operation in Rafah could take “a matter of weeks," and Israel will proceed with it whether there’s a hostage/temporary cease-fire deal or not, Netanyahu said. 

Read more: Brazil Says Israel Raises Smoke Screen to Hide Gaza ‘Massacre’

Israel has been attacking Hamas in Gaza for nearly five months, killing almost 30,000 there, according to the enclave’s Hamas-run health ministry. Meantime, conditions on the ground in Gaza are increasingly desperate. 

Eighteen of 24 Hamas battalions have been destroyed since Israel’s campaign started after the Oct. 7 attacks on southern Israel by Hamas operatives, in which 1,200 people were killed and 250 kidnapped.  

--With assistance from Alisa Odenheimer.

(Updates with additional comments from eighth paragraph.)

More stories like this are available on bloomberg.com

©2024 Bloomberg L.P.

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Published: 26 Feb 2024, 04:19 AM IST
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