Israeli PM Netanyahu Orders Plan for Rafah Population EvacuationWorld | February 10, 2024, Saturday // 10:49| views
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has instructed the military to prepare a strategy for evacuating the population from Rafah, his office announced on Friday, ahead of a planned ground offensive in the area, CNN reports.
Rafah, situated in southern Gaza, is currently home to over 1.3 million people, many of whom are displaced individuals from other parts of Gaza, as per the United Nations.
Netanyahu stated on Thursday that the Israel Defence Forces (IDF) will imminently enter Rafah, considered Hamas's stronghold.
As IDF operations extend into southern Gaza, numerous Palestinians have fled to Rafah seeking refuge. However, the next destination for these displaced individuals remains uncertain, given the closure of the border with Egypt to the south for several months.
The Israeli Prime Minister's Office highlighted in its statement that eliminating Hamas while leaving "four Hamas battalions in Rafah" was not feasible, according to CNN.
"Therefore, the Prime Minister has instructed the IDF and defence establishment to present a comprehensive plan to the Cabinet for the evacuation of civilians from the combat zones and the dismantling of the battalions," the statement added.
In a counterstatement issued on Friday, the office of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas criticized the proposed military escalation, describing the potential evacuation as a "real threat" and a "dangerous prelude" to the expulsion of Palestinians from their land, CNN reported.
"The time has come for everyone to bear their responsibility in the face of creating another catastrophe that will push the entire region into endless wars," the statement emphasized.
The conflict between Israel and Hamas erupted after Hamas initiated an attack on October 7, resulting in the deaths of approximately 1,200 Israelis and the capture of around 250 others.
In response, Israel launched a counteroffensive against Hamas, vowing to eradicate the terrorist organization.
In the latest development, the Israel Defence Forces (IDF) disclosed on Sunday that IDF soldiers had operated within a compound in Khan Younis, uncovering AK-47 rifles, ammunition, military equipment, and technological assets. Additionally, IDF troops discovered RPGs inside residences belonging to terrorists.
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