Helena Lyng Blak
1 week ago

Israel Gains Control of Rafah Border, Escalates Operations in Gaza

Amidst rising tensions, the IDF takes operational control over the Rafah crossing and launches a new military operation in Gaza.
Yarr65 / DepositPhotos
Yarr65 / DepositPhotos

On Tuesday, May 7, 2024, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) announced on X that it had gained operational control of the Gazan side of the Rafah border crossing between the country and Egypt. 

According to the IDF, it had acquired intelligence that the crossing was being used for supposed “terrorist purposes.”

Rafah Evacuates

Yesterday morning, local time, on May 6, 2024, the IDF announced that it had expanded the humanitarian area in Al-Mawasi, Gaza, to accommodate the increased aid flowing into the area

The IDF urged civilians in eastern Rafah to relocate to this expanded area as it continued its operations against Hamas throughout Gaza. The IDF communicated these directives through various channels including flyers, phone calls, messages, and media broadcasts in Arabic. 

It was estimated that the evacuation would affect around 100,000 people, though the actual number might have been higher. Some residents expressed confusion and fear about needing to evacuate, despite not being in the targeted zones at that time. 

In response to the IDF's actions, Hamas officials warned that this represented a dangerous escalation with potential consequences.

The State of the Peace Talks

Last week, Israel put a ceasefire proposal on the table, which the United States Secretary of State Antony Blinken described as “strong”, despite Netanyahu simultaneously declaring that Israel would be entering Rafah to bring Hamas’ hostages home - truce or not. 

Ultimately, Hamas did not agree to the terms of the proposal, before IDF’s evacuation warnings on Monday, May 6. 

On Monday evening, however, Hamas said it had agreed to a ceasefire proposal, but Israel said the proposal’s terms were “far from” meeting the country’s “core demands”.

Rafah Military Operation

As a result, Israel launched its long-warned military operation in Rafah overnight between Monday, May 6, and Tuesday, May 7.

According to CNN, Palestinian officials reported multiple deaths following Israeli airstrikes on Rafah in the early hours of Tuesday. 

As for now, reports say that truce negotiations will resume on Tuesday, May 7, in Egypt.

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