Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says Israel will launch an invasion of the southern Gaza city of Rafah regardless of truce talks with Hamas.

It comes amid ongoing attempts to try to reach an agreement for a ceasefire and hostage releases.

But at a meeting of hostages’ relatives, Netanyahu said he would invade with or without a deal.

His comments follow renewed warnings by the US against a Rafah invasion unless civilians were properly protected.

On Tuesday, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres said an assault on Rafah would be an unbearable escalation.

More than half of Gaza’s 2.5 million population is in Rafah, having fled there to escape fighting in other parts of the territory.

Conditions in the overcrowded city are dire, and displaced people have spoken of a lack of food, water and medication.

Netanyahu insisted that the war would continue until Israel had achieved all of its objectives in Rafah, including the elimination of Hamas battalions.