Biden endorses Israel’s Gaza ceasefire proposal: Live updates

The Israeli military said on Friday that its forces had advanced into the heart of Rafah, pushing even deeper into the southern city of Gaza despite an international backlash and pressure from allies to scale back the scale. Latest attack model.

Israeli commandos supported by tanks and artillery were operating in central Rafah, the Israeli army said in a statement, without specifying the exact location. On Wednesday, the Israeli military said it had established “operational control” of the border area with Egypt, an eight-mile stretch known as the Philadelphia Corridor on the outskirts of Rafah.

Commercial satellite images taken by Planet Labs on Thursday also showed that the Israeli military had established positions in several areas in central Rafah, while military vehicles and tanks could be spotted as far as the outskirts of the Tel al-Sultan area west of Rafah.







Despite nearly eight months of fighting, Israel has not yet accomplished its stated goal of bringing home about 125 hostages held in Gaza and overthrowing Hamas. Israeli officials say shutting down Hamas’s cross-border smuggling network and eliminating militants in Rafah would be important steps toward those goals.

Another recent epicenter of Israel’s military campaign in Gaza has been Jabaliya in the north, where the military said it has carried out more than 200 airstrikes during weeks of intense fighting with Hamas militants. On Friday, Israeli forces withdrew, leaving behind widespread destruction, according to the military and Palestinians. The army said it was still conducting some combat operations in central Gaza.

Military analysts have expressed skepticism that the attack in Rafah will deal Hamas the decisive blow that Israel desires. But it has deepened the misery of ordinary Palestinians, who are still facing widespread famine in the region. And since the offensive began, the amount of international aid arriving in southern Gaza has decreased, although the amount of commercial goods arriving has increased slightly.

Tzachi Hanegbi, Israel’s national security adviser, said Wednesday that Israel’s military operations in Gaza will likely last until the end of the year. Mr. Hanegbi, a senior aide to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, said in a radio interview that the fighting would continue for many more months to “consolidate its achievements” against Hamas.

According to the United Nations, more than a million Palestinians in Rafah, about half the territory’s total population, have fled the Israeli offensive in the past few weeks, many of them displaced for the second or second time. third in this conflict. Many people sought refuge there after Israel ordered a mass evacuation of northern Gaza in late October, increasing the city’s population to 1.4 million.

Palestinians fled the city of Rafah in southern Gaza on Tuesday during ongoing Israeli military operations.Credit…Jehad Alshrafi/Associated Press

Israel has continued its assault on Rafah despite concerns from close allies such as the United States that any major military strike would put civilians in serious danger.

On Sunday, some of those fears appeared to be realized when at least 45 people were killed in an Israeli attack and subsequent fire, according to Gazan health officials. The Israeli military said the bombardment accurately targeted two Hamas commanders, but accidentally caused a fire nearby where civilians were sheltering.

Daniel Hagari, an Israeli military spokesman, later said there were “no tents near” the structure targeted by Israeli planes. But a visual analysis by The New York Times showed that ammunition hit inside a camp where evacuees were sheltering.

Shlomo Brom, a retired Israeli major general, said Friday that the attack in Rafah will likely continue for weeks as Israeli forces destroy tunnels in controlled demolitions and combat. through parts of the city against remaining militants in an effort to “clean up” the area. .

General Brom, who directs the army’s strategic planning department, said that to prevent Hamas from rearming itself, Israeli forces will likely remain in the border area near Egypt for the foreseeable future. Israeli officials, he said, have not yet turned toward the only other viable option — handing over security responsibilities to the new administration.

Senior Israeli officials have expressed disappointment with Netanyahu for not providing a clear exit strategy for the war. Over the past few months, Israeli forces have repeatedly returned to areas such as Jabaliya – which they conquered earlier in the war – to suppress new Hamas uprisings.

Gen. Brom said that until Israel achieves its diplomatic goals toward Gaza, its forces will continue to find themselves bogged down in constant battles against Palestinian rebels there.

“All kinds of operations will be launched and they all have a military logic, but they will not be part of any clear strategy,” General Brom said. It could take years.”

Last week, The International Court of Justice orders Israel to restrain the ongoing military offensive in Rafah, warned of the risk of serious harm to civilians, although several judges wrote that Israel could still conduct some military operations there. The Israeli military continued its campaign despite that pressure, describing its Rafah operation as limited and precise.

According to satellite photos from May 22, much of eastern Rafah has been devastated since the offensive began in early May, especially around the border crossing with Egypt. on the area.

Source: Satellite images from Planet Labs

The Rafah border crossing serves as a vital route for humanitarian aid into Gaza amid widespread deprivation and hunger. It also serves as the main gateway for sick and injured Gazans to flee the fighting and receive emergency medical care.

Israeli officials said the portal was part of Hamas’s smuggling operations into the enclave, which has been under a tight blockade between Israel and Egypt since the Palestinian armed group took control of Gaza. in 2007.

The crossing has been closed since it was seized by Israeli forces, and Israeli, Egyptian and Palestinian officials have been unable to reach an agreement to continue operating there.

Following US pressure, this week Egypt began transferring some aid trucks to another Israeli-controlled border crossing, Kerem Shalom, in an effort to ease the sharp drop in aid into Gaza.

Christian TriebertReport contributions.

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