Tel Aviv: Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has ordered the military to chalk out plan for the evacuation of the population from Rafah, his office said on Friday in a statement, ahead of an anticipated ground offensive there, according to CNN.
Rafah, a southern Gaza city, currently houses more than 1.3 million people. The majority of the people, who are living there are basically evacuees from other parts of Gaza, according to the United Nations.
Netanyahu, on Thursday said that the Israel Defence Forces (IDF) will “soon go into Rafah, Hamas’s last bastion.”
As the IDF’s operations progressed south into Gaza, many Palestinians fled the territory and sought safety in the city. However, it is unclear where they will travel next; the city borders Egypt to the south, but the border into the nation has been closed for months.
In the statement, the Israeli Prime Minister’s Office stated that it was impossible to eradicate Hamas while leaving “four Hamas battalions in Rafah,” according to CNN.
“On the other hand, it is clear that a massive operation in Rafah requires the evacuation of the civilian population from the combat zones.”
“That is why the Prime Minister directed the IDF and the defence establishment to bring to the Cabinet a dual plan for both the evacuation of the population and the disbanding of the battalions,” the statement added.
In a statement issued Friday, the office of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas slammed the military escalation plan, calling a potential evacuation a “real threat” and “dangerous prelude” to Israeli expulsion of Palestinians from their land, according to CNN.
“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 said.
Notably, the war between Israel and Hamas began after the latter launched an attack on the former on October 7, where around 1,200 Israelis were killed and around 250 taken hostage.
Israel then launched a counterattack on Hamas and vowed to eliminate the terrorist group.
In the latest development in the ongoing war, the Israel Defence Forces (IDF) said on Sunday that IDF soldiers operated within a compound in Khan Younis and located AK-47 rifles, ammunition, military equipment, and technological assets.
In addition, IDF troops also located RPGs inside terrorist’s residences. (ANI)