Before the start of the Rafah offensive: Netanyahu promises civilians a “safe corridor”

Before the start of the Rafah offensive
Netanyahu promises civilians ‘safe corridor’

Israeli ground forces prepare for deployment in Rafah. Hundreds of thousands of civilians are currently seeking protection in the border town. Egypt therefore fears an attack on its own territory.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has assured the hundreds of thousands of civilians seeking protection there a “safe corridor” ahead of the planned ground offensive on the city of Rafah in the southern part of the Gaza Strip. “We are not being careless about this,” Netanyahu said in an interview with US broadcaster ABC News.

The civilian population will be given a “safe corridor so that they can leave the area”. When asked where the more than one million Palestinians in the city bordering Egypt should go, Netanyahu said that “a detailed plan” was being drawn up.

The US government and German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock have spoken out clearly against military action in Rafah in recent days. “We believe that a military operation at this time would be a catastrophe for these people,” National Security Council communications director John Kirby said Thursday. “We wouldn’t support that.”

UN Secretary-General António Guterres also warned of a humanitarian catastrophe and consequences for the entire region. Half of the Gaza Strip’s population is crammed into Rafah with nowhere else to go, he wrote on X. Egypt fears that a massive military operation in Rafah could lead to a rush of desperate Palestinians to Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula.

Rafah is the last Hamas bastion

On Friday, Netanyahu ordered his country’s army to prepare an offensive on Rafah. “It is impossible to achieve the war goal of eliminating Hamas if four Hamas battalions remain in Rafah,” he said, according to his office. The military leadership’s plans must also include the evacuation of civilians. Victory is “within reach,” he now told ABC News. “We will do it. We will catch the remaining Hamas terror battalions in Rafah, the last bastion,” Netanyahu said.

The Gaza war was triggered by the unprecedented massacre carried out by terrorists from Hamas and other extremist groups in southern Israel on October 7th. On the Israeli side, more than 1,200 people were killed. Israel responded with massive air strikes and a ground offensive.

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