Israeli defense minister says attack on Rafah to be launched soon-Xinhua

Israeli defense minister says attack on Rafah to be launched soon

Source: Xinhua

Editor: huaxia

2024-05-05 22:42:45

JERUSALEM, May 5 (Xinhua) -- Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant said on Sunday that the order to launch the Israeli onslaught on Rafah, the enclave's southernmost city, will be given "very soon."

A photo shared on Gallant's official account on social media platform X showed him donning a helmet as he walked alongside commanders during a tour near the sea in Gaza's central region.

Gallant said that Israel assesses the likelihood of reaching an agreement with Hamas as low. "The implication of this -- a large-scale operation in Rafah and other areas of the Gaza Strip very soon," he said.

"We are on the verge of a highly prepared operation," Gallant added.

About 1.2 million people have been sheltering in Rafah, according to estimates by the United Nations, escaping Israeli bombardments in other areas as well as the famine-stricken northern Gaza.

Israel and Hamas have been engaged in indirect negotiations on a ceasefire deal aimed at securing the release of hostages held in Gaza.

While Hamas has not fully endorsed the recent version of the proposed deal brokered by Egypt, it has expressed positivity. Israel has not officially commented on the proposal.

The main point of contention between the two sides remains the duration of the truce, with Hamas demanding that Israel halt the conflict, while Israel insists on continuing until it deems Hamas defeated.