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Netanyahu guarantees ‘protected passage’ to Palestinians forward of Rafah operation


The risk of an Israeli incursion into Gaza’s southernmost city of Rafah persevered on Sunday, however Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu promised “safe passage” to civilians displaced there.

In an interview airing on Sunday, Mr. Netanyahu reiterated his intention to increase Israel’s army operation towards Hamas into Rafah.

Despite worldwide alarm over the potential for carnage in a spot filled with greater than half of the Gaza Strip’s 2.4 million individuals, Netanyahu informed ABC News: “We’re going to do it”.

“We’re going to do it while providing safe passage for the civilian population so they can leave,” he mentioned, in accordance with printed extracts of the interview.

It stays unclear nonetheless, the place the massive variety of individuals pressed up towards the border with Egypt and sheltering in makeshift tents can go.

When requested, Mr. Netanyahu would solely say they’re “working out a detailed plan”.

As Israeli forces have pushed steadily southwards, Rafah has develop into the final main inhabitants centre in Gaza that troops have but to enter, whilst it’s bombarded by air strikes nearly day by day.

“They said Rafah is safe, but it is not. All places are being targeted,” Palestinian Mohammed Saydam mentioned after an Israeli strike destroyed a police car within the metropolis on Saturday.

The Israeli Premier, who contends “victory” over Hamas can’t be achieved with out clearing battalions in Rafah, directed his army on Friday to arrange for the operation. His announcement set off a refrain of concern from world leaders and help teams.

“The people in Gaza cannot disappear into thin air,” German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock wrote on social media platform X, including that an Israeli offensive on Rafah could be a “humanitarian catastrophe in the making.”

Saudi Arabia’s overseas ministry warned Saturday of “very serious repercussions of storming and targeting” Rafah and referred to as for an pressing UN Security Council assembly, whereas UK Foreign Secretary David Cameron mentioned he’s “deeply concerned” in regards to the potential offensive.

“The priority must be an immediate pause in the fighting to get aid in and hostages out,” he wrote.

– Sharpening US rebuke –

The battle in Gaza was sparked by Palestinian Islamist group Hamas’s unprecedented October 7 assault on Israel, which resulted within the deaths of about 1,160 individuals, principally civilians, in accordance with an AFP tally primarily based on official figures.

Vowing to remove Hamas, Israel launched an enormous army offensive in Gaza that the territory’s well being ministry says has killed at the least 28,064 individuals, principally ladies and kids.

Militants additionally seized 250 hostages, 132 of whom are nonetheless in Gaza, though 29 are presumed lifeless, Israel has mentioned.

Netanyahu introduced the plan for a floor operation in Rafah solely days after US Secretary of State Antony Blinken visited Israel in search of a ceasefire and hostage-prisoner trade.

Netanyahu has rejected the proposed truce after what he referred to as “bizarre demands” from Hamas.

But Israel’s plans for Rafah have drawn sharp rebuke from primary ally and army backer Washington, with the State Department warning that if not correctly deliberate, such an operation dangers “disaster”.

In unusually sharp criticism, US President Joe Biden on Thursday referred to as Israel’s retaliatory marketing campaign “over the top”.

Gaza’s Hamas rulers warned on Saturday {that a} full-scale Israeli invasion of Rafah may trigger “tens of thousands” of casualties.

The workplace of Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas mentioned the transfer “threatens security and peace in the region and the world” and is “a blatant violation of all red lines”.

The Hamas-run territory’s well being ministry mentioned on Sunday that 94 individuals have been killed in in a single day bombardments throughout Gaza, together with in Rafah.

The Israeli army mentioned it killed two “senior Hamas operatives” in a strike on Rafah Saturday.

It was a part of a wider bombardment that killed at the least 25 individuals within the metropolis, in accordance with the Hamas-run well being ministry.

– UNRWA below strain –

To the north in Gaza City, Israel’s army claimed that its troops uncovered a Hamas tunnel below the evacuated headquarters of the UN company for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA).

Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz referred to as for its head, Philippe Lazzarini, to give up.

Lazzarini mentioned the company had not operated from the compound since October 12 when employees evacuated it below instruction from Israeli forces.

Already below strain after Israel claimed 12 UNRWA employees have been concerned within the October 7 Hamas assault, he referred to as for an impartial investigation into the newest Israeli accusations.

An AFP photographer was amongst plenty of journalists taken to the compound and tunnel by the Israeli army on Thursday.

UN premises are thought of “inviolable” in worldwide regulation and immune from “search, requisition, confiscation, expropriation and any other form of interference”.

Hamas has repeatedly denied Israeli accusations that it has dug a community of tunnels below colleges, hospitals and different civilian infrastructure as cowl for its actions.

On Sunday, Israeli authorities spokesperson Eylon Levy referred to as UNRWA “a Hamas front”.

– Public fury –

The battle, now in its fifth month, has spawned intensifying public fury in Israel.

Protesters took to the streets of Tel Aviv on Saturday night time to demand the discharge of the hostages, Netanyahu step down and contemporary elections be referred to as.

“It’s clear Netanyahu is dragging out the war, he has no idea what to do on the day after,” Israeli protester Gil Gordon mentioned.

The battle has had far-reaching impression effectively bedyond Israel and Gaza, with violence involving Iran-backed allies of Hamas surging throughout the Middle East.

A senior Hamas officer survived an Israeli assassination try in Lebanon, Palestinian and Lebanese safety sources informed AFP, however two different individuals together with a Hezbollah member have been killed within the assault.

And in Syria, Israeli strikes close to Damascus killed three individuals, a battle monitor mentioned, including the focused neighbourhood hosted villas for high army and civilian officers.



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