Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu vows to go ahead with Rafah ground offensive

Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has stressed that his government will launch a ground assault in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip. The Israeli military says a Hamas stronghold is located in the city.

In an interview with ABC News, Netanyahu called Rafah "the last bastion" and said Israel is "going to do it." He said arguing that Israeli forces should not enter Rafah is basically saying "lose the war."

But Netanyahu also pledged to provide what he called "safe passage" for civilians. On Friday, he directed the Israeli military to prepare to evacuate civilians from Rafah before the ground offensive.

The city is said to be home to more than a million people after residents fled there from northern and central Gaza.

International concerns are growing as the number of civilian casualties is expected to climb further if Israeli forces intensify their attacks on Rafah.

Palestinian media reported on Sunday that an Israeli airstrike on the outskirts of Rafah had left 25 people dead.

Health authorities in Gaza say 28,176 people have been killed in the enclave since fighting between Israeli forces and Palestinian combatants broke out last October.