The Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has assured the safety of civilians in the city of Rafah in the southern part of the Gaza Strip. He stated that a detailed plan for the evacuation of more than one million Palestinians living in the city was being drawn up.
The US government has spoken out against a military operation in Rafah, stating that it would be a catastrophe for the people in the area. UN Secretary-General António Guterres also warned of a humanitarian catastrophe and consequences for the entire region, as half of Gaza’s population is crammed into Rafah and has nowhere else to go. Egypt is concerned about a rush of desperate Palestinians to the Sinai Peninsula if a massive military operation takes place in Rafah.
Israel ordered its army to prepare for an offensive on Rafah, stating that it is impossible to achieve its war goal of eliminating Hamas if four Hamas battalions remain in the city. Netanyahu said victory was “within reach.”
The Gaza war was triggered by a massacre carried out by terrorists from Hamas and other extremist groups in southern Israel. Israel responded with air strikes and a ground offensive.