Netanyahu: Rafah operation will be over in 'a matter of weeks'

Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says the military offensive in Rafah will last "a matter of weeks, not months, not years," stressing the need to destroy four Hamas battalions in the southern Gaza city.

Netanyahu was interviewed by US news channel CNBC on Wednesday.

The prime minister noted that the United States and Israel have a "disagreement." But he said, "Sometimes, you just have to do what is required to ensure your survival and your future."

US President Joe Biden has warned that Washington will hold off providing ammunition and other weapons if Israeli forces carry out a large-scale ground operation in Rafah, where many civilians are sheltering.

Media outlets report that White House National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan plans to travel to Israel this weekend to seek a breakthrough to pause the fighting.

The Israeli military said on Wednesday that it had conducted airstrikes on about 80 targets across the enclave over the past day. The military also said its ground forces had "eliminated" a large number of Hamas fighters in Rafah and the northern city of Jabalia.

Qatar-based satellite TV network Al Jazeera said at least 10 people were killed after shelling hit a clinic run by a UN agency in Gaza City in the north. It also reported many casualties in an attack on the center of the city, where civilians were gathering to access the internet.

Gaza health authorities said on Wednesday that the death toll in the enclave had risen to 35,233 since the Israel-Hamas conflict began.