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Israel says it is controlling Gaza side of Rafah crossing
Photo Courtesy: IDF X page

Israel says it is controlling Gaza side of Rafah crossing

| @indiablooms | 07 May 2024, 06:11 pm

Israel on Tuesday said its troops captured the Palestinian side of the Rafah Crossing on the Egypt border, a crucial gateway between Egypt and Gaza for humanitarian aid.

The Israeli Defense Forces posted on X: " A precise counterterrorism operation to eliminate Hamas terrorists and infrastructure within specific areas of eastern Rafah began overnight, based on intelligence."

" Residents in the area of eastern Rafah were encouraged to temporarily evacuate to the expanded humanitarian area in Al-Mawasi prior to the operation. The IDF has facilitated the expansion of field hospitals, tents, and an increase in water, food and medical supplies in the area," IDF said.

"IDF troops managed to establish operational control of the Gazan side of the crossing following intelligence that the Rafah Crossing in eastern Rafah was being used for terrorist purposes. This is after mortars were fired from the area of the Rafah Crossing toward the area of the Kerem Shalom Crossing which killed 4 IDF soldiers and injured several others," the post further said.

An Israeli official told The Times of Israel that it was a “limited operation” aimed at pressuring Hamas to accept a deal.

Hamas accepts new Gaza ceasefire proposal

Hamas has said it has informed Qatari and Egyptian mediators that it has accepted the proposal for the implementation of a new Gaza ceasefire.

Hamas said a hostage release deal has also been reached.

"The ball is now in Israel's court," an official in the Palestinian group told BBC.

However, Israel said the terms that Hamas claimed to have accepted did not match with it.

Israel, earlier, carried out airstrikes on Rafah.

Tens of thousands of residents are believed to be affected by the operation and many were seen cramming into vehicles or onto donkey carts on Monday, reported BBC.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has welcomed the efforts by Egypt and Qatar to mediate a ceasefire agreement for the Gaza Strip.

In a statement published by the Palestinian news agency (WAFA) as quoted by Xinhua, Abbas expressed hope for Israel's commitment to "ceasefire and complete withdrawal from the Strip".

The conflict began last year after Hamas attacked Israel on October 7, leaving 1,200 people dead and taking away 250 people as hostages.

The Israeli military began its Gaza campaign after the attack.

Following the deal in November, Hamas released 105 hostages during the week-long ceasefire.

During the period, 240 Palestinian prisoners were also released from Israeli prisons.

Israel said 128 hostages remain unaccounted for in Gaza, at least 34 of whom are presumed dead, reports BBC.

 Amid ongoing uncertainty about a ceasefire in Gaza and an escalation of the military operation in Rafah, UN aid agencies expressed deep concerns on Tuesday that the two main access points into the enclave remained closed, while families are scared and “hanging on psychologically and physically by a thread”.

In its latest warning to the Israeli authorities not to pursue mass evacuation orders from eastern Rafah, the UN aid coordination office, OCHA, insisted that a mass evacuation on such a scale would be “impossible to carry out safely”.

“There are nine sites sheltering displaced people in the area. It is also home to three clinics and six warehouses,” OCHA said in its latest update on the emergency, which noted that more than three quarters of the Gaza Strip is under evacuation orders.

“Any escalation of hostilities resulting from a full-scale incursion into Rafah will push residents and displaced people currently living there past their breaking point.”

The warning relating to Rafah and Kerem Shalom crossings followed an urgent appeal from UN Secretary-General António Guterres late Monday to both sides “to go the extra mile” and make an agreement to end seven months of devastating conflict, his spokesperson said in a statement.

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