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Israel officials rule out presence of 4 Hamas brigades in Rafah

May 11, 2024 at 11:40 am

Israeli artillery troops stationed at the Rafah border launch attack to southern Gaza Strip in Israel on May 08, 2024. [Mostafa Alkharouf – Anadolu Agency]

Israeli officials have ruled out the presence of four Hamas battalions in Rafah in the far south of the Gaza Strip near the Egyptian border, contrary to the claims of the occupation’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who portrayed the invasion of Rafah as an important turning point for eliminating Hamas and achieving “absolute victory”.

Israel’s Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper reported on Friday that despite Netanyahu’s claim that there are four Hamas brigades in Rafah and a military operation must be carried out, his statements are inaccurate.

The newspaper quoted three informed Israeli officials, whom it did not name, disclosing: “There are no longer four Hamas battalions in Rafah, as a large part of the fighting force left the city and its suburbs and moved to Khan Yunis, and perhaps also to the camps in the centre. About two battalions remain west of the city, seemingly in the Tel Al-Sultan area.”

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The newspaper considered that this move by Hamas indicates how the entire war is being managed, as: “The organisation has not yet tried to fight large and large-scale battles with the Israeli army. It realises that it has no chance against a division of the Israeli army. Sinwar’s plan was and still is simple: Hamas will remain underground for a longer period than the Israeli army can remain above it.”

The newspaper cited, as an example, the Israeli occupation army’s announcement on Thursday regarding the initiation of a military operation in the Al-Zaytoun neighbourhood in Gaza, which: “The army appeared to have occupied about two months ago and then left,” indicating that Hamas forces are returning to the areas that the army left and no longer occupies.

It added that Netanyahu: “Did not agree in any shape or form to introduce another force into the Strip. Not Majid Faraj’s Fatah men, according to a plan prepared by the Minister of Security and the Shin Bet, and certainly not the Palestinian Authority.”

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