Skip to main content

The final operation against Rafah is underway

1 min

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ordered Israel's military on Friday to draw up a dual plan to evacuate Palestinian civilians from the crowded southern Gazan city of Rafah and defeat the last Hamas fighters there.

Israeli tanks manoeuvre near the northern Gaza Strip border, Reuters/Amir Cohen

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ordered Israel's military on Friday to draw up a dual plan to evacuate Palestinian civilians from the crowded southern Gazan city of Rafah and defeat the last Hamas fighters there.

His office announced the move as pressure mounted on Israel over its threat to launch a ground assault on Rafah, the last refuge for hundreds of thousands of Palestinians who are trapped in the city after fleeing fighting elsewhere.

"It is impossible to achieve the goal of the war without eliminating Hamas, and by leaving four Hamas battalions in Rafah. On the contrary, it is clear that intense activity in Rafah requires that civilians evacuate the areas of combat," Netanyahu's office said in a statement.

"Therefore, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has ordered the IDF (Israel Defence Forces) and the security establishment to submit to the Cabinet a combined plan for evacuating the population and destroying the battalions."

The statement, issued two days after Netanyahu rejected a Hamas ceasefire proposal that also envisaged the release of hostages held by the Palestinian militant group, gave no further details.

Rafah has increasingly become the focus of Israel's military campaign in Gaza as its forces shift their offensive southwards in response to the Oct. 7 rampage by Hamas gunmen.

More than half Gaza's 2.3 million people are now sheltering there, many of them penned up against the border fence and living in makeshift tents.

Doctors and aid workers in Rafah are struggling to supply even basic aid and stop the spread of disease.

By Nidal al-Mughrabi and Emily Rose

Tags

Related

Turkey

Mahmoud Abbas expected in Ankara on Tuesday

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas is set to visit Turkey on Tuesday at the invitation of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, announced Turkish Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan on Sunday.

Lebanon

US envoy due in Beirut to continue de-escalation talks

U.S. envoy Amos Hochstein is due to visit Beirut on Monday to continue diplomatic efforts aimed at de-escalating the conflict across the Lebanese-Israeli border and bringing stability, a senior Lebanese official said on Sunday.

Subscribe to our newsletter

Mena banner 4

To make this website run properly and to improve your experience, we use cookies. For more detailed information, please check our Cookie Policy.

  • Necessary cookies enable core functionality. The website cannot function properly without these cookies, and can only be disabled by changing your browser preferences.