Benjamin Netanyahu says date for offensive in Gaza's Rafah has been set

Benjamin Netanyahu says date for offensive in Gaza's Rafah has been set
Benjamin Netanyahu says date for offensive in Gaza's Rafah has been set

We show you our most important and recent visitors news details Benjamin Netanyahu says date for offensive in Gaza's Rafah has been set in the following article

Hind Al Soulia - Riyadh - TEL AVIV — Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said Israel has set a date for its planned offensive in Gaza's city Rafah.

His government has been signalling its intentions to launch a military operation in the southern city, where more than 1.5m Palestinians are sheltering, for several weeks.

Netanyahu said the planned offensive was necessary for "the elimination of terrorist battalions there".

World leaders have urged Israel not to go ahead with the plan for weeks.

In a joint intervention on Tuesday, the leaders of Egypt, France and Jordan warned Israel the offensive would have "dangerous consequences" and "threaten regional escalation".

On Monday, the Israeli leader said a date to begin the Rafah offensive had been agreed internally but provided no further details.

Netanyahu's comments came as talks between Hamas and Israel over a hostage-prisoner swap and ceasefire deal continued in Egypt.

He said: "Today I received a detailed report on the talks in Cairo, we are constantly working to achieve our goals, first and foremost the release of all our hostages and achieving a complete victory over Hamas.

"This victory requires entry into Rafah and the elimination of the terrorist battalions there. It will happen - there is a date."

At the same time, Israeli Defence Minister Yoav Gallant suggested that now was the right time for a deal over hostages, six months into the war with Hamas.

A senior Hamas official told the Reuters news agency that Israeli proposals had not met its demands but the group said they would nevertheless be examined.

"There is no change in the position of the occupation [Israel] and therefore, there is nothing new in the Cairo talks," the Hamas official, who asked not to be identified, said. "There is no progress yet."

William Burns, the director of the CIA, is attending the Cairo talks. His presence underlines the growing pressure from the US - Israel's main ally - for an agreement.

The US is opposed to any assault on Rafah, where many Gazans forced to leave their homes in the north have settled.

The Israeli government was put under further pressure to reconsider its plans to send troops into Rafah by a joint statement signed by Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, French President Emmanuel Macron and Jordan's King Abdullah II.

"The war in Gaza and the catastrophic humanitarian suffering it is causing must end now," the three leaders wrote a letter to France's Le Monde newspaper, urging a "massive increase" in aid for Gaza.

They also said a recent UN Security Council resolution calling for an immediate ceasefire and the release of all Hamas-held hostages must be "fully implemented without further delay".

Egypt and Jordan - which both border Israel - are seen as key players in the war-torn Middle East region.

In a separate development on Monday, Israel reported a "record-breaking influx of aid trucks into Gaza, totalling 419".

Hamas attacked southern Israeli border communities on 7 October, killing 1,200 people and taking more than 250 hostage.

Israel says that of 130 hostages still in Gaza, at least 34 are dead.

More than 33,000 Gazans, the majority of them civilians, have been killed during Israel's offensive in Gaza since then, the Hamas-run health ministry says.

Gaza is said to be on the brink of famine, with Oxfam reporting that 300,000 people trapped in the north have lived since January on an average of 245 calories a day.

Israel has denied impeding the entry of aid or its distribution inside Gaza, and has accused UN agencies on the ground of failing to get the aid that is allowed in to the people who need it. — BBC

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