All Israel

Israeli forces capture Rafah border crossing after War Cabinet unanimously approves operation

Israeli advance seen as first stage of long-planned incursion into Rafah

Entry of the IDF combat team forces of Division 401 into the Rafah crossing border on its Gazan side, on the morning of May 7, 2024 (Photo: IDF).

Israel Defense Forces captured the Gaza side of the Rafah border crossing between Egypt and the Gaza Strip overnight, the IDF announced Tuesday morning.

IDF troops began a targeted operation in eastern Rafah late Monday evening after the War Cabinet unanimously decided to go ahead with the operation, despite Hamas claiming to have agreed to a hostage deal a short time earlier. American officials reacted cautiously to the claim while Israeli officials denied Hamas’ announcement would be taken seriously, adding that Israel was studying the group’s official response which was transmitted on Monday before deciding how to react.

In response to Hamas’ surprise announcement, Israeli officials sent out strongly worded statements telling media outlets that the terror group was trying to deceive the public by agreeing to a proposal that Israel had explicitly rejected.

Israeli forces captured the Rafah Crossing, a key point along the 3.5-kilometer (2-mile) stretch of the Philadelphi Corridor that runs along the Gaza-Egypt border. Two days prior, the Israeli government called on residents to evacuate in preparation for Israel’s ground incursion.

The IDF's 401st Armored Brigade forces captured the crossing and cut it off from Salah a-Din Road, one of the main streets running through the Gaza Strip, while the Givati Brigade captured a low ridge overlooking the crossing and part of the road.

During the overnight operation, the IDF said it eliminated 20 terrorists and destroyed a car bomb driving toward an IDF tank, without did not result in any casualties.

The troops have, so far, discovered three significant underground shafts and continue to scan the area together with special forces.

Entry of the IDF combat team forces of Division 401 into the Rafah crossing border on its Gazan side, on the morning of May 7, 2024 (Photo: IDF).

On Tuesday morning, the IDF published images of soldiers raising the Israeli flag at the border crossing, one of the most important entry points for humanitarian aid into the enclave during the war. It is also the location where many Israeli hostages were transferred to Egypt before being brought home during the first hostage deal last November.

The IDF added that intelligence information indicated that the crossing was being used for terrorist purposes by Hamas terrorists. Just last Sunday, terrorists fired rockets and mortars from the area at the Israeli border crossing at Kerem Shalom, killing four soldiers and wounding 10 Israelis.

In support of the ground operation, Israeli Air Force jets and artillery struck approximately 100 Hamas targets in Rafah, including military buildings, underground infrastructure, and other facilities being used by Palestinian terrorists in Gaza.

The Israeli army also stated that the operation was coordinated with international organizations in the area that were asked to relocate to the nearby humanitarian zone in al-Mawasi for the time being.

Due to the Israeli advance, humanitarian aid via the Rafah crossing was interrupted on Tuesday, the border crossing authority said. This means that two border crossings are no longer in operation at the moment, as the Kerem Shalom crossing remains closed after Sunday's attack by Hamas.

The IDF noted that the entry of humanitarian aid through the Rafah crossing would continue on Tuesday.

Israel's operation is seen as the first stage of the long-planned capture of Rafah, the last major stronghold of Hamas in Gaza, and came just hours after Hamas claimed to have accepted a hostage deal proposal.

Entry of the IDF combat team forces of Division 401 into the Rafah crossing border on its Gazan side, on the morning of May 7, 2024 (Photo: IDF).

Israel's War Cabinet stated that the operation was meant to increase the military pressure on Hamas while adding it had sent a delegation to Cairo “to exhaust the possibility of reaching an agreement under conditions acceptable to Israel.”

The unanimous decision to carry out the capture of the border crossing can be seen as a strong signal to the international community, which has warned Israel for months against an incursion into Rafah.

The U.S., in particular, has long cautioned the IDF against operating in Rafah for fear of mounting civilian casualties.

Following reports of the Israeli advance and a request from Algeria, the UN Security Council convened a meeting on Tuesday to discuss the latest developments in the Gaza Strip.

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