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3:10 PM ET, February 9, 2024

These are the most important things to know after Netanyahu calls for a plan to evacuate civilians from Rafah

From CNN staff

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has ordered the army to make plans to evacuate the more than 1.3 million people the United Nations estimates live in the southern Gaza city of Rafah, his office said Friday.

In the statement, his office said it was not possible to both eliminate Hamas and leave “four Hamas battalions in Rafah.”

Here’s what you need to know about these and other developments in the war between Israel and Hamas:

Where will the citizens go?: Rafah is the last major population center in Gaza not occupied by the Israeli army and has quickly become home to a huge population of displaced Palestinians. Satellite images this week showed how a tent city has grown in size in just a few weeks. CNN has also previously reported on Palestinian civilians who followed evacuation orders and were killed by Israeli strikes, underscoring the reality that evacuation zones and warning signals from the Israeli military have not ensured the safety of civilians in the densely populated Gaza Strip, where Palestinians have no safe haven. place to escape Israeli bombs.

This is what the United States said: “It would be a disaster to carry out such an operation now, without any planning and with little thought, in an area that is home to a million people,” deputy foreign ministry spokesperson Vedant Patel said at a press conference. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken also expressed concerns about the Rafah expansion during meetings with Netanyahu and other Israeli officials this week, two Israeli officials told CNN on Wednesday.

Non-governmental organizations warn: Several non-governmental organizations have warned of the humanitarian consequences of Israeli operations in Rafah. The Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC), for example, said the city, which borders Egypt, could soon turn into an area of ​​bloodshed and destruction from which people will not be able to escape.

Hostage families frustrated: As hopes for a new deal to return Israeli hostages from Gaza remain in doubt, many, including the families of the hostages still held by Hamas, have focused their anger on Netanyahu, who has rejected the terms of a ceasefire the firing and a Hamas hostage deal.
Half of UNRWA requests for aid in Gaza are rejected: The UN’s main aid agency in Gaza said on Friday that half of its aid missions’ requests to provide aid in Gaza have been rejected since the start of the year. The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) has been unable to provide aid in Gaza since January 23, the agency’s Commissioner General Philippe Lazzarini said on X, adding that people in the area are on the brink of famine to stand.

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