All Israel

Day 254: IDF announces controversial 11-hour fighting pause on Rafah corridor after bloody weekend of fighting

DM Gallant: ‘Prices are heavy, battle of determination and perseverance’

IDF operations in Gaza (Photo: IDF)

Controversy erupted on Sunday after Israel Defense Forces announced a daily 11-hour truce along a corridor in Rafah, a move that reportedly wasn’t coordinated with the political leadership and drew criticism by right-wing ministers.

Despite the political upheaval and the loss of 11 Israeli soldiers over the weekend, Israeli troops “are making progress in the defeat of the Hamas military wing, focusing on dismantling the Rafah Brigade's capabilities,” IDF Spokesman Brig. Gen. Daniel Hagari said on Saturday.

Over the past few days, the IDF said that the Commando Brigade under the 162nd Division raided terrorist infrastructure with intelligence guidance, eliminated terrorists, and located many weapons above and below ground in the Rafah area.

Additionally, the IDF reported that a rocket launched from Gaza struck an open area in the Eshkol Regional Council. This incident follows a worrying upward trend of launches from Gaza, with seven rockets having been launched at Israel on Friday.

On Sunday, the IDF announced “daily, tactical pauses of military activity in Gaza for humanitarian purposes. These pauses will occur from 08:00 to 19:00 until further notice, along the road entering Gaza from the Kerem Shalom Crossing."

The announcement continued: "As we continue our efforts to dismantle Hamas, we simultaneously continue our humanitarian efforts on the ground to ensure that Gazan civilians have access to necessary aid.”

Despite similar moves in the past, the length of the pause and the timing of the announcement coming on the heels of the loss of 11 soldiers caused outrage among several hawkish politicians, with Israeli media reporting that the announcement was not coordinated with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu or Defense Minister Yoav Gallant.

“After an inquiry, the Prime Minister was informed that there was no change in IDF policy and that the fighting in Rafah continued as planned,” the Prime Minister’s Office stated in response.

After National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir and Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich sharply criticized the IDF, Netanyahu reiterated that the decision wasn’t approved by him during a government meeting.

“In order to reach the goal of eliminating the military capabilities of Hamas, I have made a number of decisions that not always were to the satisfaction of the army. We have a state with an army, not an army with a state,” Netanyahu stated.

Earlier, Ben Gvir stated that whoever decided on the policy was a “fool who should not remain in his position.”

“Unfortunately, this move was not brought before the cabinet and is contrary to its decisions. It’s time to get out of the [outdated pre-Oct. 7 security] concept and stop the crazy and delusional approach that only brings us more dead and fallen,” the statement read.

Smotrich concurred, slamming the IDF’s “delusional announcement,” adding that “the ‘humanitarian aid’ that continues to reach Hamas keeps it in power and may pour the achievements of the war down the drain.”

“The manner in which the humanitarian effort in the Gaza Strip is being managed, in the framework of which the aid goes largely to Hamas and helps it to continue to rule the Gaza Strip in direct contradiction to the goals of the war, has been bad throughout the last few months,” he wrote on 𝕏.

The IDF later released a clarification, noting: “There is no cessation of hostilities in the southern Gaza Strip, and the hostilities in Rafah continue.”

“Also, there is no change in the introduction of goods into the Gaza Strip. The axis carrying the goods will be open during the day in coordination with international organizations, for the transportation of humanitarian aid only.”

On Sunday, Gallant visited the border of the Gaza Strip to “closely examine the difficult events that took place yesterday in which we lost 11 fighters, 8 of them here in this sector in the Rafah area.”

“We make sure to send fighters only to worthy missions, these missions are difficult, unfortunately there are also very, very heavy prices. It is a battle of determination, a battle of perseverance and we must continue and bring about the fact that we overwhelm the enemy,” the defense minister said.

The IDF announced on Saturday that eight Israeli soldiers died when their combat vehicle was hit by an explosive charge during fighting in the town of Rafah.

In addition to Wassem Mahmoud, the IDF released the names of six other soldiers who died in the incident and all served in the Combat Engineering Corps’ 601st Battalion.

They were named as Sgt. Eliyahu Moshe Zimbalist (21) from Beit Shemesh; Sgt. Itay Amar (19) from Kochav Yair; Staff Sgt. Stanislav Kostarev (21) from Ashdod; Staff Sgt. Or Blumovitz (20) from Pardes Hanna-Karkur; Staff Sgt. Oz Yeshaya Gruber (20) from Tal Menashe; and Sgt. Yakir Ya’akov Levi from Hafetz Haim.

“Following this difficult incident, a team of experts of the Defense Ministry and IDF will examine the armored vehicle and all the details of the incident, until we reach findings,” IDF Spokesman Daniel Hagari said on Saturday.

On Saturday evening, the IDF also reported that two reservist soldiers were killed when their tank came under fire in the northern Gaza Strip.

Cpt. (res.) Eitan Koplovich (28) from Jerusalem, and Warrant Officer (res.) Elon Weiss (49) from Psagot, were killed when an explosive charge detonated near their tank. They both served in the 8th Reserve Armored Brigade.

In another tragic announcement, the IDF stated that a previously wounded soldier – Sgt. Yair Roitman (19) of Karnei Shomron – died from his injuries on Saturday.

Roitman was grievously wounded when a booby-trapped building collapsed on soldiers of the Givati Brigade’s Reconnaissance Unit, instantly killing four and wounding six other soldiers, Roitman among them.

The IDF death toll from the ground incursion into the Gaza Strip now stands at 311.

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

All Israel
Receive latest news & updates
    A message from All Israel News
    Help us educate Christians on a daily basis about what is happening in Israel & the Middle East and why it matters.
    For as little as $5, you can support ALL ISRAEL NEWS, a non-profit media organization that is supported by readers like you.
    Donate to ALL ISRAEL NEWS
    Popular Articles
    Latest Stories