The Israeli army is preparing a ground military operation in the densely populated Rafah in the south of the Gaza Strip.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Friday ordered the army to prepare a military plan to evacuate civilians from Rafah and defeat the Hamas battalions there.
At the request of Egypt and the United States, the military operation in Rafah will begin after the “massive evacuation” of residents from the city is completed and after Tel Aviv and Cairo agree on Israeli military activities in the border areas between Gaza and Egypt, known as the Philadelphia axis, according to the Israeli public service KAN.
They announced that Israel had informed several countries in the region and the US about its readiness for an operation in Rafah.
According to the “Yedioth Ahronoth” newspaper, the Israeli army has approved a ground operation in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip.
Meanwhile, Israel’s Channel 12 reported that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu informed US Secretary of State Antony Blinken that ground operations in Rafah could begin within two weeks.
International estimates indicate the presence of between 1.2 million and 1.4 million Palestinians in Rafah after the Israeli army forced hundreds of thousands of Palestinians from the north of the Gaza Strip to evacuate to the south.
On Thursday, US National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said that “any major military operation in Rafah at this time, under these circumstances, with more than a million, probably more than a million and a half, Palestinians seeking refuge in Rafah without due diligence about their security would be a disaster, and we would not support that.”
Following a genocide claim brought by the Republic of South Africa, the International Court of Justice ruled on January 26 that Israel must refrain from any actions related to the killing, attacks and destruction of Gazans and take all measures to prevent the genocide.
However, Israeli forces continue to carry out attacks that have killed at least 27,947 Palestinians, mostly women and children, and wounded 67,459 since October 7, AA writes.