Netanyahu vows to carry out Rafah invasion despite US warning

9 April 2024, 16:04

Israel Palestinians
Israel Palestinians. Picture: PA

The Palestinian death toll from the war has passed 33,200, with nearly 76,000 wounded, Gaza’s health ministry said.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has escalated his pledge to invade the southern Gaza city of Rafah, which is filled with around 1.4 million Palestinians – most of whom are displaced from other parts of the Gaza Strip.

“It will happen. There is a date,” Mr Netanyahu said in a video statement on Monday, without elaborating.

The United States, Israel’s closest ally, has said a ground operation into Rafah would be a mistake and has demanded to see a credible plan to protect civilians.

POLITICS Israel
(PA Graphics)

Mr Netanyahu spoke as Israeli negotiators are in Cairo discussing international efforts to broker a ceasefire deal with the Palestinian militant group Hamas.

On Tuesday Egyptian officials said mediators have presented a new ceasefire proposal to Hamas and Israel that would include a six-week pause in fighting and a swap of 40 Hamas-held hostages for at least 700 Palestinians imprisoned by Israel.

Israel says more than 130 hostages remain in Gaza, with about a quarter of those believed dead.

Israeli troops withdrew on Sunday from Khan Younis, another city in southern Gaza, ending a key phase of the war.

Defence officials say they are regrouping ahead of a push into Rafah. Palestinians who visited Khan Younis on Monday said the city is now unlivable, offering them little immediate chance to return. Many have been sheltering in Rafah.

The Palestinian death toll from the war has passed 33,200, with nearly 76,000 wounded, Gaza’s health ministry said.

The ministry does not differentiate between civilians and combatants in its tally, but says women and children make up two-thirds of the dead.

The war began on October 7 when Hamas-led militants stormed into southern Israel, killing some 1,200 people, mostly civilians, and taking around 250 people hostage.

By Press Association

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