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Israel to see major expansion of military offensive in Rafah

May 20, 2024 at 12:22 pm

Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant (L) visits army units on the border between Israel and Gaza Strip near Rafah, Gaza on May 07, 2024. [Israeli Ministry of Defense – Anadolu Agency]

Israel’s Defence Minister Yoav Gallant and Chief of General Staff Herzi Halevi have authorised a significant expansion of the occupation state’s military offensive in Rafah, according to government-affiliated Channel 14.

Gallant and Halevi agreed to the next and important phase of the operation in the city in the south of the Gaza Strip. An Israeli army spokesman said that the report is being considered.

The report added that senior military officers will present the details of the plan to US President Joe Biden’s security advisor, Jake Sullivan, on Sunday. Sullivan is in Israel for talks with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Gallant and President Isaac Herzog.

The Israeli leadership says it wants to dismantle the last Palestinian Hamas brigades that it claims are present in Rafah. Allies, including the US, Israel’s strongest backer, have warned repeatedly against launching a large-scale attack on the city bordering Egypt due to the large number of internally displaced Palestinians seeking refuge there.

According to UN estimates, around 800,000 Palestinians have already left the city since the start of the military operation about two weeks ago. Israel intends to inform Sullivan of its estimate of the number of Palestinians who have already fled Rafah during the US advisor’s visit, according to Israeli Army Radio.

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