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War in the Gaza Strip: Netanyahu asks the army for a plan to evacuate civilians from Rafah

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has asked his army to present a “combined plan to evacuate civilians from Rafah and “destroy” Hamas in this last safe haven for displaced people in the Gaza Strip, his service said Friday.

Some 1.3 million Palestinians, more than half the Gaza Strip’s total population, are crowding into Rafah, the last southern city before the closed border with Egypt, raising fears of a bloodbath in the event of a massive Israeli military offensive.

“It is impossible to achieve the goal of the war without eliminating Hamas and leaving four Hamas battalions in Rafah. Conversely, it is clear that any intensive (military) activity in Rafah requires the evacuation of civilians from combat zones,” Benjamin Netanyahu’s office explained in a press release.

Washington warns of disaster

“In this context, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ordered Israeli forces and security officials to present to his cabinet a unified plan to evacuate the population and destroy the Hamas battalions,” he adds.

On Thursday, Washington warned of a “catastrophe” in Rafah and assured it would not support an Israeli operation “without serious planning” to protect civilians there.

After the Israeli army concentrated its military operations in the Gaza Strip in the cities of Gaza (north) and then Khan Younes, further south, Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday ordered his troops to prepare an offensive on Rafah, where many people displaced by the war have found shelter, causing the city’s population to quintuple in a matter of months.

Source: Le Parisien

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