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Senior US officials have warned against the invasion of Rafah. (Image: Palestine Chronicle)

By Palestine Chronicle Staff  

“According to the plan, the operation will move forward in stages, based on a regional division of the Gazan city into defined areas.”

The Pentagon has said that while it shares Israel’s “objective to see Hamas defeated in Rafah,” it still has some concerns about a ground assault of the southern Gaza town.

Israeli media reports, meanwhile, indicate that the invasion of Rafah, which houses more than 1.4 million displaced Palestinians, is imminent.

“I can tell you that coming out of the recent meeting that was hosted by the White House, the U.S. and Israel have agreed on the shared objective to see Hamas defeated in Rafah. They shared their thinking, we’ve shared ours,” Pentagon Press Secretary Major General Pat Ryder told a press briefing on Tuesday.

“But in terms of what their plan looks like, we still have some concerns in terms of the various courses of actions. And so, we’ll continue to discuss those concerns related to how they’re going to take into account civilian safety and humanitarian assistance,” Ryder added.

He said there were no indications at this point that any type of major ground operation had begun.

“And so, again, those conversations will continue to be very important, and it will also continue to be something that we feel is essential. That before any type of operation that they’re taking civilian safety and humanitarian considerations,” said Ryder.

‘Very Soon’

According to the Jerusalem Post, Israel’s Kan 11 news outlet which cited two American officials, reported on Tuesday evening that the Israeli military is preparing to begin the ground invasion of Rafah “very soon.”

“Palestinians will reportedly be required to evacuate in the next four to five weeks to tent complexes that international aid organizations have set up,” the report said.

“The plan for the Rafah operation has been presented to American officials as well as other agencies in the region, KAN noted,” continued the report.

It further said, “According to the plan, the operation will move forward in stages, based on a regional division of the Gazan city into defined areas.”

Egypt Briefed

Citing the Israeli Walla news outlet, the Jerusalem Post said: “Shin Bet head Ronen Bar and IDF Chief of Staff Herzi Halevi met with the head of Egyptian Intelligence and the Egyptian Chief of Staff in Egypt on Wednesday to discuss the planned IDF operation in Rafah.”

The Israeli military “approved the latest plan for the Rafah operation at the beginning of this week after three previous plans were suggested,” the paper said.

“We are preparing to establish a joint operation with the United States. We understand the concern, but we will not be able to complete the mission without entering Rafah, which could also help relieve pressure on the hostage issue,” the paper quoted an official as having stated.

The Times of Israel on Wednesday reported that the Israeli military said “it was readying to deploy two reserve brigades for missions in the Gaza Strip, as the military appeared to move ahead with plans for an offensive” in Rafah.

Abu Obeida: ‘Lies’

In his speech marking 200 days of Israel’s genocidal war on Gaza, the Al-Qassam Brigades spokesperson, Abu Obeida, said on Tuesday: “Among the lies of the enemy government is attempting to deceive the world into believing that it has eliminated the Al-Qassam Brigades and only the Rafah brigade remains.”

“The occupation’s claims of linking victory to entering Rafah and destroying what remains of the Brigades there are merely attempts to feel a false sense of triumph,” he stressed.

The Al-Qassam Brigades is the armed wing of the Palestinian Resistance movement Hamas.

Over 34,000 Killed

Currently on trial before the International Court of Justice for genocide against Palestinians, Israel has been waging a devastating war on Gaza since October 7.

According to Gaza’s Ministry of Health, 34,262 Palestinians have been killed, and 77,229 wounded in Israel’s ongoing genocide in Gaza starting on October 7.

Moreover, at least 7,000 people are unaccounted for, presumed dead under the rubble of their homes throughout the Strip.

Palestinian and international organizations say that the majority of those killed and wounded are women and children.

The Israeli war has resulted in an acute famine, mostly in northern Gaza, resulting in the death of many Palestinians, mostly children.

The Israeli aggression has also resulted in the forceful displacement of nearly two million people from all over the Gaza Strip, with the vast majority of the displaced forced into the densely crowded southern city of Rafah near the border with Egypt – in what has become Palestine’s largest mass exodus since the 1948 Nakba.

Israel says that 1,200 soldiers and civilians were killed during the Al-Aqsa Flood Operation on October 7. Israeli media published reports suggesting that many Israelis were killed on that day by ‘friendly fire’.

(The Palestine Chronicle)

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