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Netanyahu says Israel to expand Gaza hostilities to Rafah

It is also noted the mounting international on Israel in light of the ongoing operation in Gaza

TEL AVIV, March 7. /TASS/. The Israeli military operation against Hamas in the Gaza Strip will also affect the town of Rafah near the enclave's border with Egypt, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said.

"I want to tell you here today loud and clear: the Israel Defense Forces will continue to act against all Hamas battalions throughout the Gaza Strip, including Rafah, the last Hamas stronghold," the prime minister said to cheers at a cadet graduation ceremony at an IDF officers school.

"Whoever tells us not to operate in Rafah is telling us to lose the war and that will not happen," the prime minister went on to say in a speech that was broadcast by the government press office.

Netanyahu said Israel plans to fight back against the enemy on the Lebanese-Israeli border, where the pro-Iranian organization Hezbollah is involved in escalating tensions.

"We will act tough on all other fronts against those who want to destroy us, including the northern front. Whoever is not yet convinced of the heaviness of our hand, let him see what is happening to the strongholds of our enemies in Gaza. Our enemies have brought unprecedented destruction upon themselves," he said.

Netanyahu noted the mounting international on Israel in light of the ongoing operation in Gaza.

"There is international pressure and it’s growing, but particularly when the international pressure rises, we must close ranks, we need to stand together against the attempts to stop the war," he said.

The situation in the Middle East sharply escalated following an incursion of Hamas militants from the Gaza Strip into Israel on October 7. Israel has declared a complete siege of the Gaza Strip and started a military operation there. Israel also strikes parts of Lebanon and Syria in retaliation for bombardments originating from these countries. Clashes are also taking place in the West Bank.