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Netanyahu asks army to remobilize reserve soldiers in preparation for ground offensive in Rafah

February 11, 2024 at 9:53 am

Israeli soldiers, tanks, howitzers and armored vehicles are seen as Israeli military mobility continues on the Gaza border, in Nahal Oz, Israel on December 13, 2023. [Mostafa Alkharouf – Anadolu Agency]

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Saturday asked the Israeli army to remobilize reserve soldiers in preparation for a ground offensive in the city of Rafah, southern Gaza Strip, the Israeli media reported, Anadolu Agency reports.

According to Channel 13, Chief of General Staff Herzi Halevi said: “The army will be able to handle any mission, but there are political aspects that must be addressed first.”

A senior Israeli official, who preferred not to be named, told the channel: “The operation in Rafah is approaching.”

READ: Military offensive on Rafah a ‘recipe for disaster’: UN agency

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Friday ordered the military to submit a dual plan to evacuate Palestinian residents from Rafah, home to more than 1 million residents seeking refuge from war, and to defeat the remaining “Hamas battalions.”

The Palestinians have sought refuge in Rafah as Israel pounded the rest of the enclave following the Oct. 7 Hamas incursion. The bombardment has killed more than 28,000 people, besides causing mass destruction and shortages of basic necessities.

The Israeli offensive has left 85% of Gaza’s population internally displaced amid acute shortages of food, clean water, and medicine, while 60% of the enclave’s infrastructure was damaged or destroyed, according to the UN.

READ: Iran says end of Gaza war ‘means end of Netanyahu’