Israeli military set to move into Rafah, prime minister says | WORLD
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Israeli military set to move into Rafah, prime minister says

An Israeli Defense Forces tank near Gaza Associated Press/Photo by Tsafrir Abayov

Israeli military set to move into Rafah, prime minister says

Update at 4:30 p.m.: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office on Monday said that a cease-fire agreement Hamas proposed earlier fell short of meeting his country’s core demands. As a result, the Israeli War Cabinet unanimously decided to push forward with its military operations in Rafah to put more pressure on Hamas to agree to release Israeli hostages, he said. Israel is also dispatching a delegation to Egypt in hopes of reaching an agreement with acceptable terms, he said. 

Original story: Israeli Minister of National Security Itamar Ben-Gvir on Monday accused the terrorist group Hamas of playing games. The only answer to the group’s behavior is to invade the southern Gaza city of Rafah and defeat the organization, he said, according to a translated statement. Shortly before his statement, Hamas said it had approved terms for a ceasefire agreement with intermediaries in Qatar and Egypt.

What’s the context of this? Hamas announced earlier on Monday that it had accepted a cease-fire agreement, but it later became clear that Israeli officials did not support the agreement. Israeli officials regarded the statement as a trick or deception while their forces prepared to invade Rafah, according to the Jewish Institute for the National Security of America. Leaders from Egypt, Qatar, and the United States have been working with both sides to hammer out a cease-fire agreement in the region.

Is Israel still planning on invading Rafah? Israel on Sunday was warning Palestinian civilians in the city of Rafah in Gaza to evacuate before Israel began an assault on the city. Israel has been at war with Hamas since the terrorist organization led an attack on Israel on Oct. 7, 2023, that killed roughly 1,200 people. The Hamas-run Gaza Health Ministry has reported that more than 34,000 Palestinians have died since the conflict began. The ministry has largely failed to distinguish between civilian and combatant casualties.

What has the United States had to say? The United States opposes Israel invading Rafah, U.S. State Department spokesman Matthew Miller said. During a press briefing Monday afternoon, Miller largely refused to comment on whether or not the cease-fire would be accepted or rejected or provide a clear statement on the U.S. viewpoint on the agreement.

Dig deeper: Read R. Albert Mohler Jr.’s column in WORLD Opinions criticizing the U.S. House of Representatives' recent Antisemitism Awareness Act.

Josh Schumacher

Josh is a breaking news reporter for WORLD. He’s a graduate of World Journalism Institute and Patrick Henry College.

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