Israel instructs IDF to take action in Gaza’s Rafah

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Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has directed the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) to take action in Rafah to wipe out Hamas from the Gaza Strip. Netanyahu in a statement on Wednesday said: “We have instructed the IDF to also take action in Rafah and two camps in the centre of Gaza. The IDF will facilitate the civilian population to move away through a humanitarian corridor according to international law.”

This is the most direct statement made by an Israeli leader about the IDF plans for Rafah. Rafah is highly sensitive as it borders Egypt and is densely populated. Around 1.5 million Palestinians are estimated to be living in the Rafah border. Netanyahu, Defense Minister Yoav Gallant, and top IDF officials have repeated generic threats about eventually going to Rafah, but they have all refrained from any concrete statements till now.

IDF sources told IANS that that there has been some forward movement towards taking action in Rafah. According to sources in Israel defence minister’s office, Hamas leadership and the hostages may be in Rafah, hiding among around 1.5 million Palestinian civilians. The IDF has almost taken control of Khan Younis area, considered as one of the strongholds of Hamas and home to one of the most wanted Hamas leader -Yahya Sinwar.

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The Israel army has conducted multiple raids at the offices of Sinwar as also at his and his brother Mohammed Sinwar’s multiple residences in Khan Younis area.