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Israeli PM Netanyahu Reiterates Intent To Begin Military Operations In Rafah

07:30 AM Mar 11, 2024 IST | NEWS Desk
israeli pm netanyahu reiterates intent to begin military operations in rafah
Israeli PM Netanyahu Reiterates Intent To Begin Military Operations In Rafah

Tel Aviv [Israel]: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reiterated his stand on Sunday to begin military operations in the southern Gaza city of Rafah, stating that Israel wants to ensure that an attack similar to October 7 won't happen again, as reported by CNN.

"We'll go there. We're not going to leave. You know, I have a red line. You know what the red line is? That October 7 doesn't happen again. Never happens again. And to do that, we have to complete the destruction of the Hamas terrorist army," he said.

Netanyahu said the operation would not last more than two months but did not provide specifics on the timeline.

The Israeli PM also defended his policies in the Gaza Strip and responded to US President Joe Biden's remark that the Israeli leader is "hurting Israel more than helping."

"I don't know exactly what the president meant, but if he meant by that, that I'm pursuing private policies against the wish of the majority of Israelis, and that this is hurting the interests of Israel then he's wrong on both counts," Netanyahu said in an interview with Politico and German media outlet Bild, CNN reported.

Biden made his remarks during an interview with MSNBC that aired Saturday when he said Netanyahu "must pay more attention to the innocent lives being lost as a consequence of the actions taken" in Gaza.

Meanwhile, the Hamas political leader, Ismail Haniyeh, said the militant group is still open to continued mediated talks with Israel after the sides failed to reach a truce agreement before Ramadan.

But he also insisted that a permanent ceasefire in Gaza and the withdrawal of all Israeli forces is the only way forward to an agreement, CNN reported.

"We have established the most important principle for reaching an agreement, which is a comprehensive ceasefire and an end to the war on Gaza, the complete withdrawal of the occupation army from all the territory of the Gaza Strip," Haniyeh said in a televised speech Sunday.

Haniyeh claimed that Israel "has so far evaded giving clear guarantees and commitments, especially on the subject of a ceasefire, that is, stopping the aggressive war on the Gaza Strip." He said hostages in Gaza will not be able to return home "without an agreement."

In February, Israeli war cabinet minister Benny Gantz warned that Israel would expand military operations into Rafah, the southernmost city in Gaza, if hostages were not returned by Ramadan.

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