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Wednesday, July 17, 2024

Netanyahu approves ‘operational plan’ to attack Rafah in Gaza

The operation in the southern Gaza city is needed to “defeat” the Hamas militant group for good, the Israeli PM insists

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday reiterated his resolve to launch a new offensive in southern Gaza, targeting the city of Rafah. The looming operation is absolutely needed to achieve a “victory” over Hamas, he insisted.

The PM revealed he had already approved an “operational plan” for the renewed push into southern Gaza, claiming the Israeli military was prepared for “the evacuation of the civilian population and for the provision of humanitarian assistance.”

Read more: Netanyahu cancels delegation’s US visit after ceasefire vote

“This is the right thing both operationally and internationally,” he stated, apparently referring to the mounting pressure Israel has been facing recently over its actions in Gaza and alleged violations of humanitarian rights during the operation.

“This will take time but it will be done. We will enter Rafah and we will eliminate the Hamas battalions there for one simple reason: There is no victory without entering Rafah and there is no victory without eliminating the Hamas battalions there,” he explained.

Netanyahu delivered the remarks in a speech following a meeting with the relatives of Israeli hostages, still presumed to be held by Hamas in Gaza. The PM insisted he has been doing his best to rescue them.

Read more: White House believes Netanyahu deliberately ‘provoking’ US – Axios

“Those who say I am not doing everything to return the hostages are wrong and misleading, and those who know the truth and still repeating this lie are causing unnecessary grief to the families of the hostages,” he said.

Netanyahu has repeatedly proclaimed his readiness to attack Rafah no matter what over the past week, after Washington refused to veto a UN Security Council resolution calling for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza last Monday. The US has repeatedly warned Israel against the attack on Rafah, arguing the move would drastically worsen the situation for displaced Palestinian civilians.

Israel launched the operation in Gaza following an incursion by Hamas militants into the southern part of the country last October. During the attack, over 1,200 people were killed, and some 240 were taken into Gaza. The Israeli campaign inflicted heavy damage on the Palestinian enclave, leaving at least 32,000 people dead, according to the Palestinian Health Ministry.