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Israel approves attack plan on Rafah, but hopes for ceasefire

Israel approves attack plan on Rafah, but hopes for ceasefire Israel approves attack plan on Rafah, but hopes for ceasefire (Getty Images)

Israel has approved a plan for a potential attack on the city of Rafah in the Gaza Strip. At the same time, Tel Aviv hopes for a ceasefire and negotiations with Hamas on hostage release, reports Reuters.

Allies and critics have called on Israel to refrain from attacking Rafah to avoid mass casualties among civilians. Tel Aviv, on the other hand, says that the city has become a final stronghold for Hamas, which it plans to destroy while evacuating civilians.

White House National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby notes that the United States did not see a plan for storming Rafah. During a briefing, he added that Hamas' proposal for a ceasefire in exchange for the release of hostages is within the realm of possibility, expressing cautious optimism about it.

According to Reuters, Hamas presented a ceasefire proposal to intermediaries and the United States, which includes releasing Israeli hostages in exchange for Palestinian prisoners, 100 of whom are serving life sentences.

Prime Minister Netanyahu's office, which announced the approval of the Rafah plan, called Hamas' proposal unrealistic. However, an Israeli delegation will still travel to the Qatari capital, Doha, after the security cabinet discusses its position.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken says that the United States needs to see "a clear and implementable plan from Israel for Rafah, including to get civilians out of harm's way."

Situation in the Gaza Strip

Hamas militants launched massive attacks on Israel from the Gaza Strip on October 7, 2023. In response, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) began a ground military operation in the Gaza Strip at the end of October, which is ongoing. The country's Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, states that the goal of the operation is to completely destroy Hamas and free hostages.

He also says that Israel's victory is close, announcing the IDF's readiness to launch a ground invasion of the city of Rafah near the border with Egypt in southern Gaza. Against this backdrop, Egypt threatens to suspend a key peace agreement with Israel if the country's army enters Rafah.

Meanwhile, Netanyahu rejected another ceasefire deal with Hamas.