The civilian evacuation of Rafah ahead of an Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) ground operation is expected to take weeks, Kan News reports.

To evacuate around one million residents, humanitarian aid must be “flooded” to temporary evacuation shelters in the north or south of the Gaza Strip, which is a very time-consuming process, says a senior Israeli official to the Hebrew News Network.

IDF Spokesman Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari indicated at a press briefing that civilians from Rafah will be sent to safe “humanitarian islands.”

“We need to make sure that 1.4 million people, or at least a significant amount of the 1.4 million, will move. Where? To humanitarian islands that we will create with the international community,” Hagari said.

The impending IDF operation in Rafah has been a point of conflict between Israel and the US, who insist that the Jewish State refrain from launching a large-scale operation against Hamas’ final stronghold. President Joe Biden has called Rafah a “red line” that must not be crossed and has hinted at conditioning military aid on it.

For his part, Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has not taken the US president’s warnings to heart. On Sunday, Netanyahu approved final operational plans for Rafah, where Hamas’s remaining estimated 3,000 fighters are concentrated and where a significant number of hostages taken on Oct. 7 are believed to be held.

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