Israeli PM vows ground attack on Rafah ‘with or without’ deal

By Xinhua
Published : 30 Apr 2024 09:36 PM

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu pledged on Tuesday to launch a ground attack on Rafah "with or without" a deal with Hamas.

Speaking in a meeting with families of hostages, Netanyahu said that Israel has begun the evacuation of Palestinian civilians from Rafah, according to his office. "We will enter Rafah and eliminate Hamas battalions there, with or without a deal, to achieve the total victory," he said. Israel considers Rafah as Hamas's last major stronghold in the Palestinian enclave. 

Rafah is Gaza's southernmost city, where about 1.2 million Palestinians have been seeking shelter.

The remarks were made as Israeli and Hamas negotiators were in Egyptian-brokered talks on a deal for a ceasefire for the nearly seven-month-long Gaza conflict that will secure the release of hostages.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also said on Tuesday that Israel will enter Rafah and eliminate the Hamas battalions there "with or without a deal."

The health ministry in Hamas-run Gaza said Tuesday that at least 34,535 people have been killed in the Palestinian territory during almost seven months of war between Israel and Hamas.

The tally includes at least 47 deaths in the past 24 hours, a ministry statement said, adding that 77,704 people have been wounded in the Gaza Strip since the war broke out when Hamas militants attacked Israel on October 7.