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Netanyahu promises to conduct Rafah invasion, a move the U.S. says would be a mistake

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has raised his commitment to invade Rafah in southern Gaza, stating that a specific date has been determined for the ground attack on the city populated by about 1.4 million Palestinians, many of whom have

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has raised his commitment to invade Rafah in southern Gaza, stating that a specific date has been determined for the ground attack on the city populated by about 1.4 million Palestinians, many of whom have been forced to leave other areas of the Gaza Strip.

The United States, Israel’s closest ally, has stated that launching a ground operation in Rafah would be an error and has requested to see a viable plan to safeguard civilians. Israel’s offensive has plunged Gaza into a crisis, displacing more than 80% of the population and leaving over 1 million people on the verge of starvation.

International efforts to facilitate a cease-fire between Israel and the militant group Hamas are underway in Cairo this week.

Egyptian officials announced on Tuesday that mediators have put forward a new proposal for a cease-fire between Hamas and Israel, which would involve a six-week pause in hostilities and an exchange of 40 Hamas-held hostages for at least 700 Palestinians imprisoned by Israel. Israel claims that over 130 hostages are still in Gaza, and approximately a quarter of them are believed to be deceased.

The Palestinian death toll from the war has surpassed 33,200, with nearly 76,000 individuals injured, according to Gaza’s Health Ministry. The ministry does not distinguish between civilians and combatants in its count, but notes that women and children account for two-thirds of the deceased.

The conflict commenced on Oct. 7 when Hamas-led militants breached southern Israel, resulting in the deaths of around 1,200 people, mostly civilians, and the capture of approximately 250 individuals.

In other news, Israel intercepted a drone over the Red Sea overnight, marking the first use of its naval Iron Dome missile defense system, according to the military.

The military stated that a Corvette warship shot down the drone as it traveled east over waters near the southern Israeli city of Eilat. The military released unclear aerial footage of the missile making contact with an aircraft.

The operator of the drone was not immediately identified. Yemen’s Houthi rebels have been launching almost daily attacks on commercial and military ships in the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden, deploying drones and missiles from areas of Yemen under rebel control.

The Israeli defense system, known as the “C-Dome,” is a naval variant of the Iron Dome, which has been utilized to intercept rockets fired from the Gaza Strip over the past decade.

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