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Netanyahu says troops to enter Rafah ‘with or without’ Gaza truce

US diplomacy Israel-Hamas war

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Tuesday that the Israeli military will launch a ground offensive in Rafah “with or without” a truce with Hamas in Gaza.

“The idea that we will halt the war before achieving all of its goals is out of the question. We will enter Rafah and we will eliminate the Hamas battalions there with or without a deal, in order to achieve the total victory,” Netanyahu told representatives of hostages’ families, according to a statement issued by his office.

In a response to a possible International Criminal Court (ICC) arrest warrant for Netanyahu, the Prime Minister said later Tuesday on Telegram that “no decision, neither at The Hague nor anywhere else, will in any way harm our determination to achieve all the war goals.”

The New York Times quoted Israeli officials as saying that Netanyahu could be among those charged by the court. The ICC was also weighing charges against Hamas leaders, the newspaper reported.

“The purpose of this step, if it is carried out, is to threaten the leaders and soldiers of the State of Israel, essentially to paralyse the State of Israel’s ability to defend itself,” Netanyahu added.

“Israel expects the leaders of the free world to come out firmly against this scandalous step,” he concluded.

The United States said Monday it opposed the ICC’s investigation.

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Agence France-Presse (AFP) is a French international news agency headquartered in Paris, France. Founded in 1835 as Havas, it is the world's oldest news agency.

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