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Biden warns Netanyahu against Rafah invasion in phone call

President Biden called Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday and warned him against entering the Gaza city of Rafah.

The president reportedly warned Netanyahu not to continue plans to invade Rafah, Hamas’ last stronghold in the region.

The two leaders reportedly spoke for about 30 minutes, during which Biden raised the issue of the more than 1.5 million Palestinians currently living in Rafah.

Israel asks Palestinians to evacuate Rafah ahead of expected ground operation in Hamas stronghold

Biden speaks at an event near the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama. (Cheney Orr/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

“The president does not want an operation that would put the more than 1 million people seeking refuge in Rafah at greater risk,” White House national security spokesman John Kirby said in a statement.

Early in the day, the Israel Defense Forces ordered an evacuation to Rafah, signaling that a long-promised ground operation may be imminent.

The Israeli military has labeled Rafah the last major Hamas stronghold after seven months of war, and leaders have repeatedly said it is necessary to clear Rafah to defeat the Islamic militants.

Israeli military gains operational control of Gaza side of Rafah crossing, IDF announces

evacuation flyer

The Israeli military warned Palestinians to evacuate Rafah with pamphlets ahead of a military ground offensive, urging them to head west of Rafah in the Gaza Strip. (Abd Rahim Khatib/Anadolu via Getty Images)

Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant said overnight. US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin Israel was left with no choice but to act in Rafah after Hamas terrorists carried out a deadly rocket attack from Rafah earlier in the day, killing four Israeli soldiers.

The Israel Defense Forces carried out what it called a “targeted attack” against Hamas operatives in eastern Rafah, a city in the southern Gaza Strip where more than a million civilians from other parts of the Strip have fled. It started.

IDF spokesman Maj. Gen. Daniel Hagari said aircraft struck more than 50 terrorist targets in Rafah as residents of the area were evacuated and the humanitarian zones of al-Mawashi and Khan Yunis expanded.

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Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke at a press conference at the Kirya military base in Tel Aviv as fighting between Israel and the Palestinian terrorist organization Hamas continues. (Abil Sultan/Pool/AFP via Getty Images)

The war in Gaza has forced approximately 80% of the Gaza Strip’s 2.3 million people from their homes and caused extensive destruction in several cities.

The death toll in Gaza has soared to more than 34,500, according to estimates from the Hamas-controlled Health Ministry, which does not distinguish between civilians and fighters.

The war began on October 7 when Hamas attacked southern Israel, killing about 1,200 people, mostly civilians, and abducting about 250 others. Israel said insurgents were still holding about 100 hostages and the bodies of more than 30 others.

Fox News Digital’s Lawrence Richard and Bradford Betts contributed to this report.

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