Netanyahu reiterates his opposition to Palestinian control of Gaza

Netanyahu promises a “powerful” operation in Rafah “after” the civilians leave

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu promised a “powerful” operation in Rafah on Wednesday evening “after” allowing civilians to leave this city at the southern tip of the Gaza Strip.

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“We will fight until complete victory, which requires strong action in Rafah and this after allowing civilians to leave the combat areas,” he said in a message in Hebrew on his Official Telegram account.

Mr Netanyahu's comments came as negotiations for a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas continued in Cairo on Wednesday, amid fears of an Israeli operation in the town of Rafah.

About 1.4 million people, most of them displaced by the war, according to the United Nations, are crowded in this city that has been converted into a huge camp, the only major urban center in the area where the army has not yet conducted operations initiated. “Attack.”

However, the Israeli army carried out an operation on site on the night of Sunday to Monday to free two Israeli hostages, but this left a total of “around a hundred dead” on the Palestinian side.

“This week, in a careful military operation, we rescued two of our hostages. So far we have freed 112 of our hostages through a combination of strong military pressure and firm negotiations,” Mr Netanyahu added in a video on Wednesday evening.

“This is the key to freeing our remaining hostages: strong military pressure and very solid negotiations. With this in mind, I insist that Hamas abandon its illusory demands. If he gives up his demands, we can move on,” he emphasized.

Mr. Netanyahu did not elaborate on Hamas's demands, but according to sources within the Palestinian Islamist movement, it is calling for a “complete ceasefire,” while Israel is calling for a pause in fighting and the release of the 130 hostages still in Gaza.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Wednesday called on his Hamas rivals to “quickly” conclude a ceasefire agreement, particularly to avoid “an attack” on Rafah that would “cause thousands of victims.”