Middle East

Operations in Rafah will take “several weeks,” Israeli prime minister says

From CNN's Lauren Izso and Radina Gigova

An Israeli operation in Rafah, southern Gaza, will take “several weeks,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Sunday, saying he will push ahead with an offensive that has sparked international alarm.

“I reiterate: We will operate in Rafah. This will take several weeks, and it will happen,” Netanyahu said at the beginning of a government meeting.

“To our friends in the international community, I say: Are your memories that short? Have you so quickly forgotten October 7, the most horrific massacre of Jews since the Holocaust?”

His comments come ahead of a Sunday interview on CNN’s State of the Union – we’ll bring you that as it happens.

Netanyahu said “the operational plans for action in Rafah, including advancing the steps to evacuate the civilian population from the combat zones,” have been approved. “This is an essential stage ahead of the military action.”

Netanyahu went on to say that in the international community, “there are those who are trying to stop the war” by “hurling false accusations at the IDF, the Government of Israel and the Prime Minister of Israel.”

“They are doing so by means of an effort to bring about elections now, at the height of the war. They are doing this because they know that elections now will halt the war and paralyze the country for at least six months,” he said.

Remember: Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer on Thursday criticized Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government, calling for new elections in a speech on the Senate floor on the Israel-Hamas war.

Separately, the World Health Organization head, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said he is “gravely concerned” about an offensive in Rafah, where 1.4 million displaced Palestinians are sheltering.

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