Inside Story

Why is Israel’s prime minister determined to attack Rafah?

Benjamin Netanyahu says a ground offensive on Rafah is vital to eliminating Hamas.

Palestinians displaced by Israel’s war on Gaza have crowded into Rafah in the south of the territory.

The Israeli military had previously described the city as a safe zone.

But daily air strikes are intensifying and a ground offensive is planned – putting 1.5 million people in the line of fire.

There are also reports of a possible deal between Israel and Hamas that could involve a pause in hostilities and the exchange of Israeli hostages for Palestinian prisoners.

However, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says Israel’s assault on Rafah will go ahead at some stage, regardless of an agreement.

Is there any hope for Palestinians trapped in the city? And will anything stop Israel’s ground operation?

Presenter: Laura Kyle

Akbar Shahid Ahmed – Senior diplomatic correspondent at HuffPost

Najla Shawa – Country relations manager at the aid agency Oxfam

Patrick Bury – Senior Lecturer in security studies at the University of Bath