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Israel delegation visits Egypt to 'defuse tensions' over Rafah: Report

May 15, 2024 at 7:45 pm

Demonstrators hold signs as they protest during a rally in support of Rafah, next to a pro-Palestinian encampment at California State University, Los Angeles (Cal State LA) in Los Angeles, California, on May 7, 2024 [ETIENNE LAURENT/AFP via Getty Images]

An Israeli security delegation visited Egypt on Wednesday to defuse tensions between the two countries following Tel Aviv’s military operation in the city of Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip, according to Israeli media, Anadolu Agency reports.

The delegation, headed by the coordinator of the Israeli military branch responsible for aid transfers, held talks with Egyptian officials to discuss the “urgent need” to re-open the Rafah border crossing, which the Israeli army captured from the Palestinian side last week, Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper reported.

The delegation also discussed ways to advance a prisoner exchange deal with Hamas, the Israeli public broadcaster, KAN, said.

There has been no comment from Egypt on the report.

Earlier on Wednesday, Egyptian Foreign Minister, Sameh Shoukry, called on Israel to halt its military operations in Rafah, stressing that Israel’s capture of the Rafah Crossing from the Palestinian side obstructed humanitarian aid into Gaza.

The Israeli army launched a ground offensive on 6 May in Rafah, home to around 1.5 million displaced Palestinians, with the UN agency for Palestinian refugees, (UNRWA), estimating that around half a million people have fled the city since the start of the Israeli attack.

Israel has waged a brutal offensive on the Gaza Strip in retaliation for a 7 October, 2023, Hamas attack, which killed 1,200 people.

However, since then, it has been revealed by Haaretz that helicopters and tanks of the Israeli army had, in fact, killed many of the 1,139 soldiers and civilians claimed by Israel to have been killed by the Palestinian Resistance.

More than 35,230 Palestinians have since been killed in Gaza, mostly women and children, and over 79,140 others injured, according to Palestinian health authorities.

In the West Bank, nearly 500 Palestinians have been killed and thousands injured since 7 October, along with daily arrest campaigns by the Israeli army.

Israel stands accused of genocide at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) which, in January, issued an interim ruling that ordered it to stop genocidal acts and take measures to guarantee that humanitarian assistance is provided to civilians in Gaza.

READ: Israel and Egypt trade blame over Rafah Crossing closure