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Gaza: Israel deploys tanks in Rafah, negotiations on a truce in Cairo

The Israeli army deployed tanks rolled into Rafah on Tuesday and took control of the border crossing with Egypt in the southern Gaza Strip, cutting off access for humanitarian aid to the besieged Palestinian territory. gé, an "unacceptable" for Washington.

Seven months after the start of the war between Israel and the Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas, all parties have said they agree to new discussions in Cairo with a view to a truce, according to an Egyptian channel.

At the same time, the Israeli army claimed to be carrying out a “counterterrorism” operation in “specific areas” of eastern Rafah, after a call is working to evacuate tens of thousands of families from this same sector of the city which is home to 1.4 million Palestinians, according to the UN.

This evacuation was announced in anticipation of a ground offensive promised by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to eliminate the last Hamas battalions.

The United States, the UN and the European Union had called on Israel not to carry out its threat, fearing a bloodbath and a worsening of the humanitarian crisis.

– “Stop the escalation” –

The UN announced on Tuesday that access from Egypt to the Rafah crossing point, the main entry point for humanitarian aid, vital for the population of Gaza, was barred by the army.< /p>

In Egypt, “hundreds of trucks loaded with fuel and humanitarian aid are blocked”, according to Egyptian sources, after the closure of the Rafah and Kerem Shalom crossings , between Israel and Gaza, targeted by fire.

The UN also claimed to have only one day of fuel reserves left for humanitarian operations in Gaza.

Gaza: Israel deploys tanks in Rafah, negotiations on a truce in Cairo

Displaced Palestinians leave Rafah, in the southern Gaza Strip, after an evacuation order from the Israeli army, May 7, 2024 © AFP – –

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres urged Israel to “immediately” reopen the two crossings, calling on the Israeli government to “stop the escalation”.

“Closed crossings must reopen, it is unacceptable that they are closed,” the White House said, specifying that the Kerem Shalom entry point should reopen on Wednesday.< /p>

The war broke out on October 7 when Hamas commandos infiltrated from the Gaza Strip launched an attack in southern Israel, which resulted in the deaths of more than 1,170 people, mostly civilians, according to a report by the AFP based on official Israeli data.

More than 250 people have been kidnapped and 128 remain captive in Gaza, 36 of whom are considered dead, according to the army.

– “Last chance” –

Gaza: Israel deploys tanks in Rafah, negotiations on a truce in Cairo

A young Palestinian inside a building destroyed by an Israeli bombardment in Rafah, in the south of the Gaza Strip, on May 7, 2024 © AFP – –

In retaliation, Israel launched a military operation in the Gaza Strip which has so far left 34,789 dead, mainly civilians, including at least 54 in 24 hours, according to the Gaza Ministry of Health. Hamas.

In Cairo, new discussions are being held the day after Hamas accepted a ceasefire proposal submitted by Egypt and Qatar.

“All parties”, including Israel, “have agreed to return to the negotiating table”, indicated the Egyptian media Al-Qahera News, close to the intelligence services, citing a “senior official”.

Mr. Netanyahu said he had instructed the Israeli delegation to “continue to be firm on the conditions necessary for the release” of the hostages, as well as on the “essential” conditions to guarantee Israel's security.

Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant warned that the army was ready to “intensify” its military operations “across the entire strip” of Gaza if it does not There was no progress on the release of the hostages. An AFP correspondent reported airstrikes on Rafah in the evening.

A Hamas leader said the talks “could be the last chance to recover the Israeli captives alive”.

According to the number two of the political branch of Hamas in Gaza, Khalil al-Hayya, the proposal accepted by his movement includes three phases, each lasting 42 days, and includes an Israeli withdrawal from the territory, the return of the displaced and an exchange of hostages held in Gaza and Palestinian prisoners held by Israel, with the aim of a “permanent ceasefire”.

Israel opposes so far for a ceasefire until Hamas, in power in Gaza since 2007, has been defeated.

Gaza: Israel deploys tanks in Rafah, negotiations on a truce in Cairo

Displaced Palestinians leave Rafah, in the southern Gaza Strip, after an evacuation order from the Israeli army, May 7, 2024 © AFP – –

The Islamist movement, considered a terrorist organization by Israel, the United States and the European Union, for its part demands a definitive ceasefire and an Israeli withdrawal from the Gaza Strip.

White House National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said he hoped a final agreement would be reached “very soon” in Cairo.

– “Terrified” –

The Israeli army announced on Tuesday that it had taken “operational control” of the Palestinian part of the crossing point with Egypt and announced that ground troops had begun a “targeted counterterrorism operation” in eastern Rafah.

Gaza: Israel deploys tanks in Rafah, negotiations on a truce in Cairo

Israel launches evacuation in eastern Rafah © AFP – Sophie RAMIS, Nalini LEPETIT-CHELLA

“We had indications (…) that the Gazan part of the crossing point (…) was being used by Hamas for terrorist purposes,” the army explained.

Israel assured the United States that its military operation in Rafah was “limited” in scale and duration, according to the White House.

Monday , ordered to evacuate by the Israeli army, thousands of men, women and children, many already displaced by the war, had hastily packed some belongings, without really knowing where to go.

“We are terrified. We are going to leave towards the west of Rafah, but we do not know exactly where,” Hanah Saleh, a man, told AFP 40-year-old displaced from the north of the Gaza Strip.

“Currently an average of 200 people leave Rafah every hour towards Khan Younes (south) and other areas,” declared the head of the UN Refugee Agency (UNRWA) Philippe Lazzarini.

Gaza: Israel deploys tanks in Rafah, negotiations on a truce in Cairo

Photo provided by the Israeli military on May 7, 2024 shows Defense Minister Yoav Gallant visiting soldiers at a position near the border with the Gaza Strip, where a war pits Israel against the Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas © Israeli Army – –

The Pentagon further announced that construction of the temporary artificial US port in Gaza, intended to facilitate the delivery of humanitarian aid, had been completed.

The green light given Monday by Hamas to the truce project gave momentary hope to the Palestinians in Gaza. But on Tuesday, survivors recounted another night of anguish under the bombings.

Bombing during the night left at least 27 dead, according to two hospitals in Rafah.

Egypt warned Israel on Tuesday “against the dangers of escalation”, according to the Egyptian media Al-Qahera News.


All rights of reproduction and representation reserved. © (2024) Agence France-Presse

Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116