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Report: US agrees to Rafah operation in return for smaller Israeli response against Iran

Egypt and Israeli army are preparing for Rafah incursion

Rafah, in the southern Gaza Strip, on April 12, 2024 (Photo: Abed Rahim Khatib/Flash90).

The Biden administration has consented to Israel’s planned incursion into the southern Gaza city of Rafah, after receiving assurances that Israel wouldn’t carry out a large-scale strike against Iran, the Qatari newspaper Al-Araby Al-Jadeed reported.

“The American administration showed acceptance of the plan previously presented by the occupation government regarding the military operation in Rafah, in exchange for not carrying out a large-scale attack against Iran,” an Egyptian official told the news outlet.

The U.S. government has opposed the long-planned Israeli operation in the southern Gaza town, reportedly Hamas’ last major stronghold in the Strip.

On Wednesday, U.S. President Joe Biden made a gaffe while speaking about his continued opposition to an Israeli incursion into Rafah, confusing it with the Israeli city of Haifa.

The Egyptian official added that his nation was preparing for any potential impact the Israeli operation would have on its territory.

Since the war against Hamas began last October, Egypt has reinforced its border with Gaza and repeatedly confirmed it would not allow Palestinians to cross into Egypt's Sinai Peninsula.

As part of Egypt’s preparations, it increased the capacity of the camps in the city of Khan Younis, Those camps are overseen by the Egyptian Red Crescent and have coordinated with Israel to increase the amount of aid reaching them.

The Israeli army has been refocused on preparing for the Rafah operation after Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant approved operation plans, Israeli media reported.

This includes the recruitment of two reserve brigades, the increased deployment of troops to the area surrounding Gaza, and the alleged purchase of 40,000 tents to facilitate the evacuation of Rafah’s residents.

After the IDF’s 162nd Division wrapped up its operation on the outskirts of Nuseirat camp on Wednesday, a brigade commander told his soldiers: “We are going to Rafah, and we will clobber them. The people of Israel are counting on you to do it as well as possible, like in Nuseirat, Zeitoun, Daraj Tuffah and Shifa - also in Rafah.”

Palestinian reports said Israel intensified its airstrikes in Rafah in recent days, signaling that the IDF's ground incursion may be drawing near.

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

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