Israel takes control of Palestinian side of Rafah border crossing

May 7, 2024 by Pesach Benson
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Israel seized control of the Palestinian side of the Rafah border crossing with Egypt, the Israel Defense Forces confirmed on Tuesday morning after launching an overnight ground operation in parts of the southern Gaza city.

Israeli forces take control of the Palestinian side of Gaza’s Rafah bordr crossing with Egypt on May 7, 2024. Photo by IDF Spokesperson

“Following intelligence that indicated that the Rafah Crossing in eastern Rafah was being used for terrorist purposes, IDF troops obtained operational control of the Gazan side of the crossing,” the army said.

Ground troops and fighter jets struck and eliminated Hamas terror targets in the Rafah area including military facilities and underground sites. According to the IDF, 20 Hamas terrorists have been killed and three operational tunnel shafts have been found since the operation began.

On Sunday, Hamas fired a barrage of rockets from the area of the Rafah border crossing and near an area where displaced Palestinians were sheltering in tents. The barrage targeted the Kerem Shalom border crossing, killing four soldiers. Of all the Gaza border crossings, Kerem Shalom is equipped to handle the most humanitarian aid trucks daily. The crossing has been closed since the attack.

In recent days, residents of certain Rafah neighbourhoods received phone calls, SMS messages, air-dropped flyers, and media broadcasts instructing them to evacuate to expanded humanitarian zones in Khan Yunis and the coastal area of Al-Mawasi. The flyers included maps showing the affected zones, and aid organizations were updated on the evacuation plans.

Also receiving messages to evacuate were displaced Palestinians camping in a strip of land along the Gaza-Egypt border known as the Philadelphi corridor. This buffer zone was created to prevent weapons smuggling after Israel disengaged from Gaza in 2006. But in 2007, Hamas violently seized control of Gaza from the PA.

The Egypt-Gaza border is politically sensitive, technically a demilitarized zone under the terms of the Camp David Accords signed in 1978.

At least 1,200 people were killed and 240 Israelis and foreigners were taken hostage in Hamas’s attacks on Israeli communities near the Gaza border on October 7. Around 30 of the remaining 133 hostages are believed dead.

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