Netanyahu: Intense Phase of Rafah Fighting Nearing End, War Against Hamas Continues

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has announced that the “intense phase” of fighting in Rafah, southern Gaza, is nearly over but emphasized that the war is far from ending. He reiterated that the conflict would persist until Hamas is completely ousted from power.

Netanyahu mentioned that the Israeli military would soon redeploy troops to the border with Lebanon, where clashes with Hezbollah have been intensifying. He also rejected the notion of the Palestinian Authority, based in the West Bank, taking control of Gaza in place of Hamas.

“In the end, two things must happen: ongoing military demilitarization by the Israel Defense Forces and the establishment of a civil administration, ideally with support and management from certain regional countries. This is the right path forward,” he said in an Israeli television interview. “I am not prepared to establish a Palestinian state there or hand it over to the Palestinian Authority.”

Residents of Rafah reported continued clashes in the city, while Israeli airstrikes on Gaza City reportedly killed the Hamas-run health ministry’s director of emergency services. An aid distribution center was also hit, which the IDF claimed was being used by Hamas.

Israeli Defence Minister Yoav Gallant is visiting Washington to discuss the Gaza conflict and the rising tensions with Hezbollah, which is backed by Iran.

The Israeli military’s campaign to dismantle Hamas began in response to the group’s unprecedented attack on southern Israel on October 7, which resulted in approximately 1,200 deaths, mostly civilians, and 251 hostages being taken.

Since then, over 37,551 people have been killed in Gaza, according to the Hamas-run health ministry. These figures do not distinguish between civilians and combatants, but by the end of April, 14,680 children, women, and elderly people were reportedly among the dead.

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