Dhe ground offensive, which Israel launched a few weeks after Hamas' terrorist attack, is gradually rolling up the Gaza Strip from north to south. The invasion began in Gaza City in the north. For two months there has been heavy fighting in Khan Yunis, a large city in the south of the narrow coastal area. Israel believed the Hamas leadership was hiding there after they could not be found in Gaza City. But Khan Yunis is not the end yet: there is increasing talk of extending the offensive to Rafah, the border town in the very south.

Christian Meier

Political correspondent for the Middle East and Northeast Africa.

This is above all a humanitarian challenge. A large proportion of the almost two million residents of Gaza who have been displaced by the Israeli attacks are in Rafah. The international statements sound correspondingly concerned. The warnings have become louder since Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ordered the military on Friday to prepare plans to invade Rafah and present them to the cabinet. As long as there are still “four battalions” of Hamas there, the desired eradication of the militant Islamist organization is impossible, the Prime Minister said in a statement.