Israel-Hamas war, Ramadan begins, Netanyahu defends Gaza policies


Benny Gantz speaks to media outside Carlton Gardens, in Londonon March 6.
Benny Gantz speaks to media outside Carlton Gardens, in Londonon March 6. Aaron Chown/PA Wire/PA Images/AP/File

The Biden administration is not anticipating that Israeli forces will imminently expand their military operations into Rafah, two US officials told CNN, with the holy month of Ramadan set to begin Monday for most Muslims.

Israeli war cabinet member Benny Gantz, who visited Washington last week, has warned in recent weeks that if a temporary ceasefire and hostage release deal was not struck by Ramadan, the Israeli military would launch the next phase of its war against Hamas with a major incursion into Rafah in southern Gaza.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said that regardless of a deal, he plans to send the military into Rafah.

“We’ll go there. We’re not going to leave [Gaza],” Netanyahu said Sunday in an interview with German outlet Axel Springer. “You know, I have a red line. You know what the red line is, that October 7 doesn’t happen again.”

Netanyahu was referencing comments made by President Joe Biden in a Saturday MSNBC interview in which he said an operation into Rafah “is a red line.”

“It cannot have 30,000 more Palestinians dead,” Biden said.

Netanyahu said Sunday in an interview with Politico and German media outlet Bild that the operation would not last more than two months but did not provide specifics on the timeline.

“Once we begin the intense action of eradicating the Hamas terrorist battalions in Rafah, it’s a matter of weeks, if not months. That means it’s not going to take more than two months, maybe six weeks, maybe four,” he said.

Read more about the situation in Rafah.



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