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Netanyahu vows to invade Rafah ‘with or without ceasefire deal’

A Palestinian man walks past the rubble of buildings destroyed in previous Israeli bombardments, in Rafah, in the southern Gaza Strip, on April 30, 2024 . (Photo by AFP)

Benjamin Netanyahu has pledged to carry out the planned ground invasion of the city of Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip, whether or not a ceasefire and prisoner swap deal is reached with the Palestinian resistance movement Hamas.

"The idea that we will stop the war before achieving all its objectives is out of the question," the head of the Israeli regime said on Tuesday, according to a statement from his office.

“We will enter Rafah and we will eliminate the Hamas battalions there – with or without a deal, in order to achieve the total victory.”

Earlier in the day, the Israeli military’s chief of staff Herzi Halevi also said the military had approved final plans for the phased invasion of Rafah as well as the refugee camps in the central part of Gaza in the next 72 hours.

Rafah, situated in the Gaza Strip’s closed southern border with Egypt, is home to around 1.5 million Palestinians who have been displaced due to Israel’s ongoing genocidal campaign in the besieged territory.

Israel had designated Rafah a “safe zone,” but in recent months it has been threatening a full-scale military aggression, leaving the people sheltering there terrified with nowhere to go.

The assault has mounted fears over a new carnage against Palestinians and drawn global condemnations.

Netanyahu’s remarks come as US Secretary of State Antony Blinken is scheduled to arrive in Israel to advance truce talks between the occupying regime and Hamas.

The deal is meant to free hostages, bring some relief to the population in Gaza and avert an Israeli offensive into Rafah.

Hamas has already said the movement is serious about reaching an agreement on ceasefire in Gaza, but will not give in to any pressure from the United States.

Israel began its brutal onslaught on October 7 after Hamas carried out a historic operation against the occupying entity in retaliation for its intensified atrocities against the Palestinian people.

The regime has killed at least 34,500 Palestinians, mostly women and children, in Gaza since early October.

During its operation, Hamas took 253 Israeli settlers into captivity. It is believed that 129 of the captives remain in Gaza — not all of them alive — after 105 were released during a week-long truce in late November.

Some of the captives were killed in Israeli airstrikes on the besieged territory.

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