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Israel won't capitulate to pressure against army entering Rafah: Netanyahu

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Israel won't capitulate to pressure against army entering Rafah: Netanyahu

Tel Aviv, Feb 18 (IANS) Prime Minister of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu has said that his country wont capitulate to any pressure against the army entering Rafah area in Gaza to smoke out Hamas militants. Netanyahu has said that to prevent Israel from a ground operation in Rafah would mean losing the war against Hamas.

The statement of the Israeli Prime Minister’s office came amid growing pressure from the international community against Israel’s ground operations in Rafah. The U.S. and several of Israel’s Western allies have warned Jerusalem that an offensive in Rafah in the current conditions would be catastrophic.

Israel, which has said will draw up a plan for civilians to be evacuated before it enters Rafah, believes that it cannot effectively curtail Hamas without taking Rafah, which sits on Gaza’s border with Egypt.

At least some of the 134 hostages remaining in Gaza are thought to be in the city. Hamas leadership is also believed to be sheltering there.

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Benjamin Netanyahu has said that he wont allow the war to be lost.

Rafah is the last remaining Hamas stronghold in the Gaza strip.

Netanyahu said that he had told US President Joe Biden that Israel will fight until “total victory” and that includes action in Rafah.

The Israeli Prime Minister, however, said that IDF operation in Gaza’s southernmost city will come only after civilians there are evacuated to safe areas.

He also said that a quarter of Hamas was intact in a defined territory and that Israel cannot allow such a thing to happen.

He further said that even if a hostage deal was reached, Israel would eventually enter Rafah, adding that there is no alternative to total victory, that without destroying the Hamas battalions in Rafah, there wont be total victory.

–IANS

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