Israel plans to extend its full-scale military operations in the Gaza Strip for another six to eight weeks before launching a ground operation in Rafah, reports Reuters, citing four informed officials - two Israeli and two from the region.

According to the authors of the publication, Samia Nakhoul, Jonathan Saul, and Humeyra Pamuk, the Israeli military leadership aims to significantly weaken Hamas's ability to carry out military operations in Rafah during this preparatory period.

This strategy is anticipated to pave the way for a transition to a lower-intensity phase of the conflict, characterized by targeted airstrikes and special forces operations.

Former Israeli intelligence official Avi Melamed suggests that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's government is unlikely to yield to international criticism and forego the ground operation in Rafah, regarded as Hamas's stronghold.

To achieve its objectives in this war, Israel must defeat the Hamas battalions entrenched in Rafah.

The article highlights that the IDF leadership has not yet presented a plan for the evacuation of approximately one million civilians residing in Rafah and its surrounding areas.

Although preparations are underway on Egyptian territory, Cairo has denied planning to accommodate refugees from Gaza. Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Galant stated that Israel has no intention of evacuating Gaza's civilian population to Egypt.

Reuters presents conflicting estimates of Hamas casualties in the Gaza Strip over the course of more than four months of conflict: the IDF claims approximately 12,000 fighters have been killed, while a Hamas spokesman in Qatar reported losses of around 6,000 fighters.