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War on Gaza: There is a date for Rafah invasion, says Netanyahu

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Monday that a date has been set for a ground offensive in Rafah, which Israel says is one of…

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Monday that a date has been set for a ground offensive in Rafah, which Israel says is one of the last Hamas strongholds in Gaza.

Around 1.5 million Gazans are sheltering in the city, which has so far not experienced a large-scale Israeli ground assault.

Netanyahu did not say when the invasion would occur but reiterated that victory over Hamas militants “requires entry into Rafah and the elimination of the terrorist battalions there.

“It will happen – there is a date,” he said in a video statement.

He was speaking as talks in Cairo over a Gaza ceasefire and hostage deal appeared to be gathering momentum.

Netanyahu is under pressure at home from his far-right coalition partners who are angry at talk of a truce as well as Israel pulling its troops out of southern Gaza on Sunday.

“Today I received a detailed report on the talks in Cairo,” Netanyahu said.

“We are working all the time to achieve our goals, primarily the release of all our hostages and achieving a complete victory over Hamas.”

The White House said on Monday that negotiators in the Egyptian capital had presented Hamas with a proposal for a ceasefire in the Gaza Strip and a hostage deal.

“Now it’s going to be up to Hamas to come through,” it said, describing the talks as “serious”.

The Gaza war was sparked by the October 7 2023 attack against Israel by Hamas militants that resulted in the deaths of 1,170 people, mostly civilians, according to Israeli figures.

Israel’s retaliatory offensive has killed at least 33,207 people in Gaza, mostly women and children, according to the health ministry in the Hamas-run territory.

Of the around 250 Israeli and foreign hostages abducted by Hamas on October 7, 129 remain in Gaza, of whom the military says 34 are dead.

 

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