Netanyahu says Israel will invade Rafah despite Ramadan and US pressure

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israeli prime minister Benjamin NetanyahuBefore his hernia surgery on Sunday, he vowed that Israel would invade Rafah despite pressure from Ramadan and Washington.

Netanyahu, 74, said he had approved IDF “Operation Plan” against RafahIt said the force was “ready to evacuate civilians and provide humanitarian assistance.”

FILE: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attends the weekly Cabinet meeting at the Prime Minister’s Office in Jerusalem on June 25, 2023. (Abir Sultan/Pool photo via AP, File)

“It’s the right thing to do both operationally and internationally,” he said. “It will take time but it will be done. We will go into Rafa and we will eliminate Hamas camp The reason is simple: there is no victory without entering Rafah, and there is no victory without destroying the Hamas camp there. ”

The Israeli leader made the remarks after meeting with the families of the hostages still in Gaza. He denied accusations that he delayed their release.

“Those who say I did not make every effort to repatriate the hostages are wrong and misleading, and those who know the truth but still repeat such lies are causing unnecessary grief to the families of the hostages,” he said.

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Netanyahu claimed that Israel had “relaxed” its position during the negotiations, while Hamas had “hardened” its position.

“Despite all the difficulties, negotiations must be conducted calmly and calmly,” he said. “This is the only way to return the hostages.”

Netanyahu has kept a full schedule throughout Israel’s nearly six-month war with Hamas. The hernia was discovered during a routine checkup, but his doctor said his other health was good. Last year, doctors admitted he hid a well-known heart problem after having a pacemaker implanted.

Palestinians concerned about destruction

Palestinians look at the destruction caused by an Israeli attack on a residential building in Deir al-Balah, Gaza Strip, on January 14, 2024. (AP Photo/Adel Hana)

On October 7, Hamas killed approximately 1,200 people and took another 250 hostage in a cross-border attack, sparking widespread solidarity in Israeli society. Nearly six months of conflict have reignited divisions around Netanyahu’s leadership, although the country remains largely supportive of the war.

Thousands of Israelis gathered outside the parliament building in Jerusalem on Sunday in the largest anti-government demonstrations since the war began. They urged the government to reach a ceasefire agreement, release dozens of hostages held by the Hamas armed group in Gaza, and hold early elections.

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During a week-long ceasefire in November, about half of the hostages in Gaza were released. But efforts by international mediators to bring the remaining hostages home failed. Talks resume on Sunday and no breakthrough is expected.

Netanyahu said victory would be impossible without a ground military offensive on the southern Gaza city of Rafah. Rafah is a southern Gaza city where more than half of the territory’s 2.3 million people now take refuge after fleeing fighting elsewhere.

The Hamas Health Ministry in Gaza said on Sunday that more than 32,000 Palestinians have been killed since the war began. The ministry’s tally does not distinguish between civilians and militants but said women and children accounted for about two-thirds of those killed.

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Israel disputes the figures, saying more than a third of the dead were militants and blaming Hamas for civilian casualties because the group operates in residential areas.

Fox News’ Yael Rotem-Kuriel and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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By Ali Raza

I am a dedicated and skilled News Content Writer with a passion for delivering accurate and engaging stories to a diverse audience. With a solid background in journalism and a keen eye for detail, I bring a commitment to excellence and a deep understanding of the evolving media landscape.

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