As Israel is getting ready to launch a massive ground operation inside Rafah, a city in southern Gaza which is considered the last significant Hamas stronghold, the Israel Defense Forces is ordering tens of thousands of Palestinians living in the city to leave.

The IDF ordered an evacuation of Rafah on Monday, hinting that a long-promised ground operation in the city might be close.

Overnight on Monday, Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant said that Israel is left with no choice but to carry out an invasion of Rafah after Hamas launched a rocket attack from the city earlier on Sunday that left four Israeli soldiers dead.

According to Lt. Col. Nadav Shoshani, an army spokesman, about 100,000 people in Rafah have been ordered to relocate to Muwasi, a nearby humanitarian zone. These orders were reportedly issued through text messages, radio broadcasts and air-dropped leaflets so that all Palestinians would get the information somehow.

In one flyer, the IDF wrote, “Anyone found near (militant) organizations endangers themselves and their family members. For your safety, the (army) urges you to evacuate immediately to the expanded humanitarian area.”

The IDF also issued the warning on X, saying that it plans to act with “extreme force” against Hamas in the city.

The latest development comes after there have been international efforts to negotiate a ceasefire. However, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has promised that Israel would be carrying out the operation in Rafah as planned with or without a deal.

“The idea that we will stop the war before achieving all of its goals is out of the question. We will enter Rafah and we will eliminate Hamas’ battalions there — with or without a deal, to achieve the total victory,” he said.