Israeli tanks enter Rafah – but no full invasion yet

Operation comes after Israel rejected the Hamas deal


Israel has announced plans to evacuate Gaza's southern city of Rafah where some 1.4 million internally displaced Palestinians are sheltering as the IDF prepares for a ground invasion. (Photo by Ahmad Hasaballah/Getty Images)

Israeli tanks entered Rafah overnight after a Hamas ceasefire offer was rejected as inadequate, but the operation has so far fallen short of a full invasion.

The IDF took control of the Gazan side of the Rafah Crossing on the Egyptian border last night.

It was part of a “pinpoint operation” against Hamas in “limited areas of eastern Rafah,” the IDF said, after “intelligence information [suggested] that terrorists were using the crossing area for terror purposes.”

On Sunday, provocative rockets were fired by Hamas from the crossing area at Kerem Shalom in southern Israel, killing four soldiers and wounding others.

Before the attack, the IDF said it had carried out “coordination with the international organisations operating in the area, with a request to move towards the humanitarian area, as part of the effort to evacuate the population that has been taking place.”

The news that tanks were in Rafah came after Israel rejected the Hamas deal. The New York Times reported that Hamas intended to include the remains of several dead hostages among the 33 captives it propsed freeing.

The terror group informed mediators that not all of those to be released were still alive. The first phase had been expected to include women, children, the elderly and ill and Israel had insisted that all the released hostages had to be alive.

Israel had already reduced its demand from 40 hostages, with the understanding that not all those in that category were still alive.

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