ISRAEL AT WAR - DAY 142

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Netanyahu to ABC: Victory is within reach, Rafah is the key to defeating Hamas

FILE - Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attends a press conference with Defense Minister Yoav Gallant and Cabinet Minister Benny Gantz in the Kirya military base in Tel Aviv, Israel, October 28, 2023. (Abir Sultan/Pool Photo via AP, File)
FILE - Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attends a press conference with Defense Minister Yoav Gallant and Cabinet Minister Benny Gantz in the Kirya military base in Tel Aviv, Israel, October 28, 2023. (Abir Sultan/Pool Photo via AP, File)

Benjamin Netanyahu says in an interview airing Sunday that the Israeli military will provide “safe passage for the civilian population” ahead of an expected assault on Rafah, Gaza’s southernmost city, rejecting fears of a “catastrophe.”

Despite international alarm over the potential carnage in a city crammed with more than a million displaced Palestinians, the Israeli prime minister tells ABC News’s “This Week with George Stephanopoulos” the offensive is key to crushing Hamas, the terror organization that has ruled Gaza for more than 16 years.

“Victory is within reach. We’re going to do it. We’re going to get the remaining Hamas terrorist battalions and Rafah, which is the last bastion, but we’re going to do it,” he says in extracts of the interview released Saturday evening.

“We’re going to do it while providing safe passage for the civilian population so they can leave,” he says.

“We are working out a detailed plan to do so,” Netanyahu adds. “We’re not, we’re not cavalier about this.”

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