Israel enters Rafah

Israel’s war cabinet said it intends to pursue its goals of returning the Israeli hostages and removing Hamas from power.

Palestinian hopes for an end to the war were shattered late last night when Israel launched intense air strikes on Rafah in southern Gaza at 10pm local time.

The Israeli 401st Brigade entered the Rafah crossing and took ‘operational control’ of the crucial crossing for both aid and those able to flee into Egypt, officials said, adding that they had ‘eliminated approximately 20 terrorists’.

Footage circulating on social media showed an IDF tank operating near the border, with another clip later appearing to show Israeli flags flying at the crossing point.

This came just hours after Israel roundly rejected a new ceasefire deal hashed out by Egyptian and Qatari negotiators that Hamas said it had accepted, but which Israel said was not the original deal it had green-lighted.

The announcement from Hamas sparked premature celebrations in Rafah yesterday as Palestinian civilians took to the streets rejoicing news of a ceasefire deal.

But Jerusalem later dismissed the ceasefire, describing it as a ‘softened’ version of an Egyptian proposal, which included ‘far-reaching’ conclusions that Israel could not accept.

Humanitarian relief efforts in Gaza may be brought to a standstill by Israeli troops’ seizure of the Palestinian side of the Rafah border crossing, a UN agency warned on Tuesday.

“Continued interruption of the entry of aid and fuel supplies at the Rafah crossing will halt the critical humanitarian response across the Gaza Strip,” said UNRWA, the UN agency for Palestinian refugees, in a post on social platform X.

UNRWA has been accused of employing some Palestinians affiliated with the Hamas terror group. Just a few days ago, Israeli authorities denied UNRWA Commissioner-General Philippe Lazzarini entry into Gaza.
Israel informed the US of the plans to evacuate the area in eastern Rafah and conduct the operation before the call Monday between President Joe Biden and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Israel’s war cabinet has declared it intends to pursue its goals of returning the Israeli hostages and removing Hamas from power.