Israel’s War Cabinet Moves Forward With Rafah Assault

( – Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) have pushed ahead with the long-discussed assault on Rafah, beginning its bombardment in earnest on Monday, May 6, after instructing Gazans to leave eastern parts of the city. Rafah has become a relatively safer shelter for many Gazans during the war and is currently home to approximately 1.4 million Palestinians.

The move comes after Gazans took to the streets to celebrate at the start of the week when Hamas announced that it had accepted a ceasefire deal. Israel, however, had not accepted the deal. According to Tel Aviv, the proposal had been negotiated between Egypt, Qatar, and Hamas, without Israel’s input, and did not have terms acceptable to Israel. Previously, Hamas had rejected a proposal that the U.S. termed “generous” and would have involved the release of around 30 Israeli hostages in exchange for a 40-day ceasefire and the release of thousands of Palestinian prisoners.

The IDF announced on Tuesday, May 7, that it had managed to secure the crossing between Egypt and Rafah. Israeli authorities said that the border crossing had previously been used by Hamas in their efforts against Israel. The IDF has also reported taking control of several underground tunnels built and used by Hamas.

While some have warned against Israel’s invasion of Rafah, citing humanitarian concerns, Tel Aviv has maintained that the assault on the city is entirely necessary in order to completely destroy the Hamas terror group, which still holds around 130 Israeli hostages in captivity. The IDF has claimed to have wiped out 18 of Hamas’ 24 battalions, with five of the remaining units believed to be stationed in Rafah.

The U.S. is reported to have stopped a shipment of bombs destined for Israel due to the Biden administration’s hesitancy over Israel’s plans to capture Rafah with such a large population of non-combatants present. The halted shipment has not prevented the IDF from moving fully into Rafah, where it is rumored that Yahya Sinwar, leader of Hamas, is hiding.

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