Israel plans to evacuate over 1 million Palestinian civilians from the city of Rafah

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has indicated that more than a million civilians who have crowded into the southern Gaza city of Rafah will be able to evacuate before the Israeli army moves there. The statement came amid US claims that Israel had not done the necessary planning to ensure civilians were kept out of harm's way, and failure to do so would lead to "catastrophe".
Netanyahu's office said in a statement that he had instructed the army to submit plans to the cabinet for both the evacuation of Palestinian civilians from the southern Gaza Strip and the disbandment of Hamas battalions in the Rafah area. "It is impossible to achieve the military objective of eliminating Hamas and leaving four Hamas battalions in Rafah," the statement said. "On the other hand, it is clear that a large-scale operation in Rafah requires the evacuation of the civilian population from the combat zones," it added. /BGNES, AFP