IDF presents plan for evacuation of Rafah, gets approval for aid to south Gaza

The IDF presented a plan to the war cabinet this evening for the evacuation of Palestinians civilians from combat zones in Gaza’s southernmost city of Rafah and its operational strategy going forward, the Prime Minister’s Office says.

The army “presented the war cabinet with a plan for evacuating the population from the areas of fighting in the Gaza Strip, with the upcoming operational plan,” the Hebrew announcement reads.

In addition, the PMO says the cabinet approved the provision of humanitarian aid to south Gaza “in a way that will prevent the looting that occurred in the north of the Gaza Strip and other areas.”

Israel is pressing ahead with plans for a military offensive in Rafah, Hamas’s last stronghold in Gaza and also where more than half the territory’s population of 2.3 million have sought refuge.

Humanitarian groups warn of a catastrophe, with Rafah the main entry point for aid, and the US and other allies have said Israel must avoid harming civilians. Under US pressure, Israel’s political and military leaders have said the operation will not begin until the safety of non-combatants has been ensured.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said this evening that an Israeli military operation in Rafah could be “delayed somewhat” if a deal for a weekslong truce between Israel and Hamas is reached, as mediators work to secure an outline for a pause in fighting and hostage releases.

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