Latest News 07-05-2024 12:05 13 Views

Biden warns Netanyahu against Rafah invasion as Israel prepares for action

President Biden called Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday to warn him against moving on the Gaza city of Rafah.

The president reportedly warned Netanyahu against continuing with plans to invade Rafah, the last stronghold of Hamas in the region.

The two world leaders reportedly spoke for approximately 30 minutes, during which Biden raised the issue of the more than 1.5 million Palestinians currently living in Rafah.

'The president doesn’t want to see operations in Rafah that put at greater risk the more than a million people that are seeking refuge there,' said White House national security spokesman John Kirby.

Earlier in the day, Israel’s Defense Forces ordered an evacuation of Rafah, signaling that a long-promised ground operation could be imminent. 

The Israeli army has described Rafah as the last significant Hamas stronghold after seven months of war, and its leaders have repeatedly said clearing Rafah is necessary to defeat the Islamic militant group.

Overnight, Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant told U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin that Israel was left with no choice but to act in Rafah after Hamas terrorists carried out a deadly rocket attack from Rafah earlier in the day that left four Israeli soldiers dead.

The Israeli Defense Forces has begun conducting what it describes as 'targeted strikes' against Hamas operatives in eastern Rafah, a city located in the southern Gaza Strip where more than 1 million civilians from other parts of Gaza are sheltering. 

IDF spokesman Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari said aircraft struck more than 50 terrorist targets in Rafah amid the evacuation of residents in the area and the expansion of the humanitarian area in Al-Mawasi and Khan Yunis. 

The war in Gaza has driven around 80% of the territory's population of 2.3 million from their homes and caused vast destruction throughout several cities. 

The death toll in Gaza has soared to more than 34,500 people — per estimates from Gaza's Hamas-run Health Ministry, which does not distinguish between civilians and combatants. 

The war began Oct. 7 when Hamas attacked southern Israel, killing around 1,200 people, mostly civilians, and abducting about 250 others. Israel says militants still hold around 100 hostages and the remains of more than 30 others.

Fox News Digital's Lawrence Richard and Bradford Betz contributed to this report.


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