Netanyahu orders military to prepare for population evacuation from Rafah amid Gaza conflict


(MENAFN) Israeli Premier Benjamin Netanyahu has instructed the country's military to prepare for the evacuation of the population from Rafah, signaling a potential ground assault on the southern Gaza city.

The city, home to more than 1.3 million people, many of whom have been displaced from other parts of Gaza, is anticipated to be a focal point in the Israel Defense Forces' (IDF) campaign.

Netanyahu had previously announced that the IDF would soon enter Rafah, described as Hamas's last stronghold.

Palestinians have sought refuge in Rafah as the IDF's operations progressed south through Gaza. However, the situation remains complex, as the city borders Egypt to the south, and the border has been closed for months.

In the statement, the Israeli Premier’s Office said that it was not possible to both eliminate Hamas and leave “four Hamas battalions in Rafah.”

“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 Premier directed the IDF and the defense establishment to bring to the Cabinet a dual plan for both the evacuation of the population and the disbanding of the battalions.”

Rafah stands as the final significant population center in Gaza that remains unoccupied by the IDF.

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