IOF to still operate in Rafah regardless of captive release — Netanyahu

gaza rafah
(Photo: Twitter/X)
TEL AVIV— Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has affirmed that the Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) will conduct a ground attack in Rafah, where 1.4 million Palestinians are gathered, regardless of whether an agreement is reached to release the captives, Al-Mamlaka TV reported. اضافة اعلان

This sparked a wave of international calls, including from the US, Israel's primary ally, urging to halt any military operation in Rafah.

Netanyahu responded by stating, "Whoever is telling us not to operate in Rafah is telling us to lose the war.”

Meanwhile, negotiations were held this week in Cairo involving mediators from Egypt, the US, and Qatar to reach a ceasefire agreement and exchange Israeli detainees and Palestinian prisoners.

Qatari Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani said at the Munich Security Conference (MSC), "I believe we can reach an agreement very soon. However, the pace that prevailed in the past few days has not been very promising." He added, "We will always remain optimistic and continue to press forward."

However, Hamas threatened to suspend its participation in the negotiations if the aid urgently needed in northern Gaza was not delivered.

Ceasefire dilemma
The head of Hamas's political bureau, Ismail Haniyeh reiterated on Saturday that his movement insists on a ceasefire and the withdrawal of the Israeli Defense Forces (IOF) from the Gaza Strip. However, Israel has repeatedly rejected both demands, and its IOF has continued to bombard the strip.

The Qatari Prime Minister addressed the dilemma faced in reaching a ceasefire, stating, "This is the dilemma we are in, and unfortunately, many countries have misused it. The gist of which is that in order to reach a ceasefire, it is necessary to reach an agreement on the captives. This should not be conditional."

Barely functioning
For weeks, the IOF has focused its operations in Khan Younis, where Nasser Hospital is situated. The hospital suffered a power outage and generator failure after being raided, resulting in the killing of six patients, including a child, as reported by the Ministry of Health in Gaza. On Saturday, it was announced that 100 people were arrested in the hospital.

Doctors described the unbearable situation in the hospital, one of 11 hospitals still in service out of 36 hospitals in Gaza before the war, as ‘barely functioning.’ Furthermore, the World Health Organization (WHO) stated, "Further damage to the hospital means more loss of life."

Doctors without Borders announced that its staff "Were forced to flee, leaving patients behind." The Organization's Secretary-General, Christopher Lockyear also said, "The situation was chaotic and catastrophic."

In response, the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) condemned the raid, stating that it appears to be ‘part of a pattern of attacks by Israeli forces on critical civilian infrastructure in Gaza, especially hospitals.’

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