Israel's entry into Rafah will take some time, Netanyahu says
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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Wednesday that his army is preparing to enter Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip, adding that "it will take some time." In a televised speech broadcast through his official X account, Netanyahu began by summarizing the details of a phone conversation he had with US President Joe Biden last Monday. "In the beginning, we agreed that Hamas must be eliminated. But during the war, it's no secret, there were disagreements between us about the best way to achieve this goal," Netanyahu said.

At first, he told the president that defeating Hamas requires the Israeli army to enter the Gaza Strip, and that in their most recent conversation, he told him that completing the victory requires the army to enter Rafah to clear the debris. of Hamas battalions. Addressing the Israelis, the prime minister said that he had already approved the army's operational plan and that they would soon approve the plan for the evacuation of civilians from the battle zones. "As we prepare to enter Rafah, and that will take some time, we are continuing to operate at full strength. "We are continuing to operate in Khan Yunis, in the camps in the center, in eliminating and capturing senior Hamas officials as we have just done in Shifa (hospital) and in eliminating hundreds of 'terrorists'," the Israeli prime minister said.

After the phone conversation between Biden and Netanyahu, US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan said on Tuesday that the Israeli prime minister agreed to send a team to the US to discuss Israel's plan to take Rafah "without a major ground invasion ". This came despite escalating regional and international warnings about the consequences of any Israeli ground invasion of Rafah, which is home to some 1.4 million Palestinian refugees displaced by the Israeli army's offensive in other parts of the Gaza Strip, pushing them into the area , promising them safety and then launching attacks that resulted in deaths and injuries.

Israel has been waging a deadly military offensive in the Gaza Strip since an Oct. 7 cross-border attack led by Hamas that killed nearly 1.200 Israelis. Nearly 32.000 Palestinians, mostly women and children, have since been killed in Gaza and more than 74.000 injured amid mass destruction and deprivation. /AA

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