’Would be a mistake,’ says US as Israel PM Benjamin Netanyahu sets date to carry out Rafah invasion

Netanyahu said victory against the Hamas requires entry into Rafah. ‘…the elimination of the terrorist battalions there. It will happen - there is a date’

Written By Arshdeep kaur
First Published9 Apr 2024
FILE PHOTO: US President Joe Biden, left, meets with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, right, to discuss the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas
FILE PHOTO: US President Joe Biden, left, meets with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, right, to discuss the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas(via REUTERS)

Amid repeated attempts from the international community, including its closest ally United States, to oppress Israel's Rafah invasion, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ‘pledged’ the “elimination of the terrorist” from the southern Gaza city, saying that he has set a date for it. 

Over half of Gaza's population, around 1.4 million Palestinians, have fled to Rafah after being displaced by fighting in other parts of the territory.

In a video statement on Monday, Netanyahu said victory against the Hamas requires entry into Rafah. "…the elimination of the terrorist battalions there. It will happen - there is a date,” the Israeli PM said without elaborating on the time of the planned attack.

“We are working to achieve our goals all the time...primarily releasing all our hostages and achieving total victory,” he added.

The US has said a ground operation into Rafah would be a mistake and has demanded to see a credible plan to protect civilians. 

Netanyahu's video message came at the time Israeli negotiators were discussing international efforts to broker a cease-fire deal with the Hamas in Cairo.

Israel has said Rafah is Hamas' last stronghold and has vowed to send ground troops into the city.

On Sunday, Israeli troops withdrew from another city in southern Gaza, Khan Younis, ending a key phase of the war. 

But, the Israeli defense officials said they're regrouping ahead of a push into Rafah. 

The Jew nation has said it has a plan to evacuate Palestinian civilians ahead of its offensive as Israel's Defence Ministry on Monday published a tender seeking a supplier of tents.

An Israeli official, on condition of anonymity told the Associated Press, that the tents were part of the “Rafah preparations”.

According to Gaza's Health Ministry, the Palestinian death toll from the war has passed 33,200, with nearly 76,000 wounded.

Although the ministry doesn't differentiate between civilians and combatants in its tally, it said that two-thirds of the dead are women and children.

The war began October 7, 2023 when Hamas-led militants stormed into southern Israel, killing around 1,200 civilians, and taking around 250 people hostage.

(With agency inputs)

 

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