Israel-Hamas War: Israel Pushes On With Rafah Offensive Hours After Truce Deal With Hamas


Tel Aviv: Israel has started its planned military offensive in Rafah hours after the ceasefire deal between Israel and Hamas which was pushed by Egypt and Qatar to end the seven-month war. The Jewish nation said that the Palestinian militant group did not meet its core demands and planned to continue further negotiations on a truce agreement.

Israeli Defence Forces on Tuesday announced it was conducting targeted strikes against Hamas terror targets in eastern Rafah. The Associated Press in a report citing Egyptian and Palestinian officials has said that Israeli tanks entered Rafah, the last Hamas stronghold in Gaza, reaching as close as 200 metres to the border with Egypt.

Ismail Haniyeh, the leader of the organization, notified the two mediation countries of the arrangement, and Hamas declared in a statement on Monday that it had approved the pact. The Israeli prime minister’s office, according to the Reuters news agency, stated that the agreement did not meet all of the expectations of the nation and that it would send a delegation to meet with the negotiators to negotiate a compromise.

The IDF (Israeli Defence Forces) on Monday issued evacuation orders to around 1 lakh residents of Eastern Rafah after it struck the city in retaliation for a Hamas rocket attack on the Kerem Shalom border crossing. While Palestinian sources declared that 19 people, including a baby, had died in the counterattack in Rafah, Israeli officials claimed that three of their soldiers had died in the Hamas attack.

Israeli forces reiterated their appeal to Palestinians to evacuate Rafah as strikes continue to pound the city. IDF spokesman Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari said “We also call upon those staying in specific areas which we have communicated and defined through every means – radio, media, internet, and flyers to leave”, the BBC reported.

In response to the Israeli offensive, the armed wing of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad said its militants launched rockets towards southern Israel from Gaza and targeted “Sderot, Nir Am, and settlements in the Gaza envelope”, reports AFP. The “Gaza envelope” refers to a zone of southern Israel close to the enclave. A senior Hamas official, speaking to AFP, said Israel must now decide whether it accepts or “obstructs” a truce after seven months of war.

According to Hamas member Taher Al-Nono, who spoke to Reuters, the truce proposal satisfied the organization’s requests for Palestinian detainees held in Israeli jails, the return of displaced Palestinians, and reconstruction work in Gaza. The delegation from Qatar’s Foreign Ministry announced on Tuesday that it will go to Cairo later in the day to continue indirect talks between Israel and Hamas.

The ground invasion of Rafah would be “intolerable because of its devastating humanitarian consequences and because of its destabilizing impact in the region,” UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres issued a warning. Protests demanding an urgent agreement to free the hostages still being held in the Gaza Strip broke out across Israel on Monday night, including in front of Netyanyahu’s Jerusalem residence, according to The Associated Press.

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