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gaza update

‘Hamas cannot be renewed’ – Rafah operation will expand, says Israeli defense minister

US completes Gaza pier as first humanitarian aid deliveries move from ships to trucks

Israeli forces in Gaza (Photo: IDF)

Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant announced that the IDF's operation to eliminate Hamas targets in Rafah would be expanding. 

“The ground operation in Rafah will be joined by additional forces,” Gallant said on Thursday evening, at the end of a situational assessment held on the Gaza border.

“A number of tunnels in the area have already been destroyed - the faucets of [aid for] Hamas are closing.” 

“This operation will intensify and Hamas is not an organization that can be renewed now – it has no reserves, no ability to manufacture weapons, no supplies, no armaments, no ability to properly deal with terrorists who are injured, and this means that we are eroding it,” Gallant stated. 

In preparation for the incursion, the IDF has been instructing Palestinian civilians in Rafah to evacuate the area to designated safe zones. In addition, Israel will be facilitating the delivery of humanitarian aid to the Gaza Strip in cooperation with the United States, which constructed a temporary pier along Gaza's coastline.

The U.S. military established the pier to serve as a new entry point for humanitarian aid to reach Gaza's civilians. Following a delay due to weather conditions, U.S. Central Command (US CENTCOM) announced on Friday that the first deliveries at the pier had already begun to transfer from the ships onto trucks.

According to US CENTCOM, despite the entry of trucks into Gaza from the pier, no American soldiers entered the Gaza Strip. 

U.S. military officials confirmed the pier can accommodate up to 150 truckloads per day.

On Wednesday, the U.S. reported that several hundred tons of aid had arrived in Cyprus, where it would be inspected by Israel before being shipped to the Gaza pier. 

The IDF has been coordinating deliveries at the pier and has stated that it will protect the pier from interference by Hamas operatives. Meanwhile, the United Nations stated that the pier will not help with deliveries of fuel, which must still enter via land crossings. 

Palestinian sources claim that Israel presented Egypt with a proposal for reopening the Rafah crossing after the IDF seized the crossing at the beginning of May. According to the proposal, all Egyptian aid would be transferred to the Kerem Shalom border crossing for inspection by Israel. 

The IDF would guard the Gaza side of the crossing, while Egypt would submit a list of names of Palestinian workers to help bring aid across the border. The workers would have to undergo security checks to determine their suitability. A group of UN observers would also work at the crossing to supervise the aid transfer to Gaza. 

If accepted, it would allow fuel from Egypt to again enter the Gaza Strip. 

During operations in Rafah on Thursday, soldiers from the 401st Brigade combat team located rocket launchers loaded and ready-to-fire long-range rockets into Israeli territory with the use of drones. The launchers were used in recent attacks on Israeli territory and were destroyed by the IDF. 

Another group of soldiers operating in the area of Rafah discovered significant rocket launch infrastructure, with rockets ready to be launched, and also destroyed it.

The IDF also announced expanded operations in Jabaliya, where Israeli Air Force (IAF) fighter jets struck a weapons storage facility and eliminated several terrorists who had launched mortars at IDF troops. 

According to the IDF spokesman’s office, IAF fighter jets struck 60 targets across the Gaza Strip during the last day, including military structures, terror cells, weapons storage facilities and anti-tank positions. 

The IDF announced the death of Sergeant Major Ran Yavetz, 39, of Modi’in, who was killed in an accidental weapons explosion Thursday night. One other soldier was wounded in the explosion, which is under investigation. 

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

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