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Day 219: IDF continues operations in Central Gaza and Rafah despite warnings from Egypt

Cairo says it will support South Africa’s lawsuit against Israel in The Hague

Israeli soldiers operating in Gaza (Photo: IDF)

According to Palestinian reports, the IDF again dropped tens of thousands of leaflets in eastern Rafah, warning civilians to evacuate to the expanded humanitarian zone in al-Mawasi. 

The United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) estimated that around 300,000 people have already evacuated Rafah since the IDF began to issuing warnings last week. 

The IDF also urged Palestinians to temporarily evacuate Jabaliya as it continues to counter Hamas' attempts to reestablish a presence in the city following an operational pause intended to allow time for hostage negotiations. After the call, IDF troops began an operation overnight on Saturday to thwart Hamas' efforts to reassemble its terrorist infrastructure and establish its operatives in the area. Before sending in troops, Israeli Air Force (IAF) fighter jets struck approximately 30 Hamas targets.

IDF soldiers also continued precise operations in eastern Rafah and on the Gazan side of the Rafah Crossing. 

Israeli troops located and destroyed several tunnel shafts and rocket launchers. During the operation, IDF forces identified ten armed militants from Hamas emerging from a building. The militants were neutralized in an airstrike before they could pose a threat to the soldiers.

The IDF continued to operate in the Zeitoun area in northern Gaza, eliminating terrorists during close-quarters combat and dismantling terrorist infrastructure in the area. 

Over the past day, IAF fighter jets struck over 150 terror targets throughout the Gaza Strip, including terror cells, ready-to-fire rocket launchers, weapon storage facilities, observation posts, tunnel shafts and additional infrastructure. 

The increased activity near Rafah has allegedly caused concern for Egypt, which lies adjacent to the town. Rafah is split into two sections, with one part located in Gaza and the other in Egypt.

After Egypt announced on Saturday that it was refusing to coordinate the entry of aid to Gaza due to Israel’s "unacceptable escalation," the country today announced that it has lodged protests with the Israeli, U.S., and European governments.

Egypt warned that the IDF's increased operational activity near Rafa, especially along the border crossing, puts its decades-long treaty with Israel at risk. 

Israel maintains that controlling the border crossing area is essential due to Hamas smuggling weapons and people through tunnels beneath the border. It has repeatedly requested Egypt's assistance in countering such activities.

Late on Sunday afternoon, Egypt announced its intention to join the South African lawsuit against Israel in The Hague. 

According to Egypt, the decision “comes in light of the worsening severity and scope of Israeli attacks against Palestinian civilians in the Gaza Strip, and the continued perpetration of systematic practices against the Palestinian people, including direct targeting of civilians and the destruction of infrastructure in the Strip, and pushing Palestinians to flee.” 

Despite criticizing Israel over the humanitarian situation, Egypt has denied entry to Palestinian refugees and has frequently shut the border crossing that facilitates the delivery of humanitarian aid.

The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.

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