Middle East

Israeli military says it aims to move 1.4 million displaced Gazans from Rafah to “humanitarian enclaves”

From CNN’s Mike Schwartz in Tel Aviv

Israel intends to move 1.4 million displaced Palestinians from Gaza’s southern city of Rafah to “humanitarian enclaves” before a planned military assault there, Israel Defense Forces spokesperson Daniel Hagari told reporters on Wednesday.

He said the Rafah offensive was “something we need to do” but also that the timing of the assault depends on “the conditions to allow it.”

More than half of Gaza’s population is now sheltering in Rafah, which borders Egypt, after fleeing the north and center of the enclave.

“What are the conditions? We need to make sure at 1.4 million people will move to humanitarian enclaves that we will create with the international community. They will provide them with temporary housing, food, water, field hospitals,” he said.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said it is necessary to advance into Rafah to destroy Hamas’ remaining military battalions.

Hagari refused to give the timing of any IDF invasion of the city, where people are living with severe shortages of food, water, medicine and shelter.

“We are strengthening our readiness. I do not want to mention time. It will be the best time for Israel,” Hagari said.

Israeli officials told CNN on Monday that an invasion was not imminent and that the cabinet had not yet approved military plans for it.

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