Crucial Rafah Crossing to Egypt Captured by Israeli Troops

Squad of Fully Equipped and Armed Soldiers Walking down the Hill on the Camera in the Desert.

( – Following a rejection of a ceasefire proposal pitched by Egypt and Qatar to which Hamas agreed, Israel decided to proceed with its planned attack on the city of Rafah in the Gaza Strip intended to weed out Hamas further, and has now captured a main border crossing point.

On Tuesday, May 7th, Israel Defense Forces (IDF) launched a siege of Rafah and seized the southern area bordering Egypt. The key crossing point is in the southernmost part of Gaza, and it’s one of the only areas on land where Palestinians suffering in the war can receive incoming aid. Hamas, the militant radical Islamic group that controls the Palestinian territories, is accusing Israel of attempting to undermine any efforts toward securing a ceasefire.

On Monday, May 6th, Hamas announced on its official website that their leader, Ismail Haniyeh, “conducted a telephone call” with Qatari Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani and Abbas Kamel, head of Egyptian intelligence, to inform the two nations that the group would accept the terms of the latest ceasefire proposal. Their approval of the deal came hours after Israel ordered about 100,000 people in the eastern part of Rafah to evacuate the area, signaling the incoming invasion.

Although Israel faced international pressure to hold off on invading Rafah, the operation went forward even in the face of Hamas’ ceasefire acceptance. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the proposal from Egypt and Qatar did not satisfy Israel’s demands. He later described the subsequent crossing point seizure as a “very significant step” toward disabling the military capabilities of Hamas.

Part of the reason for that international pressure has to do with the fact that over a million Palestinians displaced from other areas of Gaza over the last seven months of conflict have taken refuge in Rafah. Many of these refugees are having trouble finding anywhere safe to take shelter from the fighting, and over 35,000 Palestinians have been killed during Israel’s efforts to stop Hamas, which killed over 1,200 in Israel on Oct. 7th, 2023, kicking off this most recent chapter of the Israel-Palestine conflict.

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