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Israeli army says it has not yet presented Rafah evacuation plan to the government

Palestinians crowd the streets of Rafah, Gaza on February 10, 2024.

Palestinians crowd the streets of Rafah, Gaza on February 10, 2024. Abed Zagout/Anadolu/Getty Images

An Israel Defense Forces (IDF) spokesperson told CNN on Tuesday that the Israeli military has not yet presented its plan to the government for evacuating Rafah.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Friday ordered the IDF to make plans to “evacuate the population” of Rafah, ahead of an anticipated ground assault on southern Gaza city.

“The government has ordered the IDF to prepare a plan to achieve our objectives, our war objectives, in the Rafah area,” IDF spokesman Lt. Col. Peter Lerner told CNN’s John Vause on Tuesday. “Of course, the plan you requested has not yet been submitted to the government.”

Lerner said the military’s goal was to create a plan that would get civilians “out of harm’s way” and separate them from Hamas militants.

More than half of Gaza’s population is believed to live in Rafah, with most of the displaced people from other parts of the besieged area gathered in a makeshift tent city.

“It can be done. We are confident in our ability to differentiate and make a difference,” he told Waze, though acknowledging that it is “not without challenges.”

More than half of Gaza’s population is believed to live in Rafah, with most of the displaced people from other parts of the besieged area gathered in a makeshift tent city.

Israel faces increasing international pressure over the potential impact on civilians of the ground attack on Rafah.

On Tuesday, Lerner addressed the concerns by comparing, “The alternative… is to surrender to Hamas and sacrifice 134 people.”

“From Israel’s perspective this is not an option,” he said.

“We need to bring the hostages home, we need to bring them home now. We can do it, we’ve done it before. We’ve proven over and over again that we can keep large numbers of people out of harm’s way. Can take it out.” ” He said.

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