Spread the love

Israel bombs Rafah even as Washington threatens to stop arms transfers

Photo: Tsafrir Abayov Associated Press Israeli soldiers gather on an Israeli tank parked in southern Israel, near the border with the Gaza Strip.

France Media Agency to Rafah

Posted at 6:55 a.m. Updated at 7:17 a.m.

  • Middle East

The Israeli army bombarded the Gaza Strip on Thursday, as the United States threatened for the first time to stop arms transfers to Israel in the event of a major offensive in the crowded border town of Rafah. Egyptian.

This is the strongest warning yet from the United States, a close ally of Israel and its main arms supplier, regarding the conduct of its war launched on October 7 by a bloody attack by the Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas on Israeli soil.

This warning comes in the middle of mediation in Cairo where indirect negotiations between Israel and Hamas via Qatar, Egypt and the United States resumed Wednesday in an attempt to reach a compromise on a truce and avoid an assault in Rafah.

On the ground, an AFP team reported numerous artillery shots on Thursday in Rafah, at the southern tip of the Gaza Strip. “Tanks and jets are firing,” said Tarek Bahloul, a resident on a deserted street in Rafah: “Every minute we hear a rocket and we don’t know where it will land.”

The Israeli army announced that it had carried out airstrikes on approximately 25 targets in Zeitoun, southeast of Gaza City, with the aim of dismantling Hamas' military infrastructure, including sniper positions. The area was hit by strikes throughout the night and several people could be trapped under the rubble, according to an AFP correspondent.

Israel bombs Rafah even as Washington threatens to stop arms transfers

Photo: Ahmad Gharabli Agence France-Presse Numerous Israeli military vehicles are positioned in southern Israel, near the border with the Gaza Strip.

“Hard to hear”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu threatens to launch ground offensive on Rafah , where according to Israel the last battalions of the Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas are hiding but where there are also 1.4 million Palestinians, the majority displaced by the war.

« Civilians were killed in Gaza because of American bombs, President Joe Biden admitted in an interview with CNN, during which he for the first time set conditions for military aid to Israel, a close ally of the United States.

“If they enter Rafah, I will not deliver to them the weapons that have always been used […] against cities,” declared Mr. Biden while the Israeli army said it was preparing a “limited” offensive in Rafah, causing the UN to fear a “bloodbath”.

Reacting to these comments, Israel's ambassador to the UN declared on public radio on Thursday Israeli government that the threat was “difficult to hear and very disappointing.”

A senior US official confirmed on condition of anonymity last week's suspension of a transfer to Israel “1,800 2,000-pound (907 kg) bombs and 1,700 500-pound (226 kg) bombs,” used during the war.

Earlier this week, The Israeli army took control of the border crossing with Egypt, cutting off the main gateway for humanitarian aid convoys to the besieged Palestinian territory.

The other crossing point near Rafah, Kerem Shalom on the Israeli side, closed on Sunday after shootings claimed by Hamas, was targeted by rocket fire on Wednesday shortly after its reopening, according to the army.

Also read

  • Biden sets conditions for military aid to Israel for the first time
  • Negotiations in Cairo take place between Israeli raids and bombs in Rafah
  • “Life has stopped” in Rafah since the Israeli incursion

“Very scared”

Israeli soldiers continued their “targeted operations” on the Gaza side of the eastern Rafah crossing on Wednesday, based on reports of “terrorists operating in the area.”

“We are very scared. The occupying army continues to indiscriminately fire shells on neighborhoods in eastern Rafah, in addition to an intensification of airstrikes,” city resident Mouhanad Ahmad told AFP. Qishta. “Even areas presented as safe by the Israeli army are bombarded,” he added.

Closure of crossing points and military operations in Rafah raise fears of a worsening of the humanitarian crisis in the Palestinian territory.

Israel bombs Rafah even as Washington threatens to stop arms transfers

Photo: Agence France-Presse Palestinians displaced by the war crowd into tents set up in Rafah, in the south of the Gaza Strip.

Only “three days of fuel” remained in hospitals in southern Gaza on Wednesday, “which means they could soon stop functioning”, the director-general of the World Health Organization warned Health (WHO), Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.

A British emergency doctor, James Smith, on mission in southern Gaza, described a “catastrophic” health situation and an “omnipresent” smell of sewage in hospitals, several of which have been ravaged by fighting and strikes.

This war broke out on October 7 when Hamas commandos infiltrated from Gaza carried out an attack against Israel, unprecedented in the country's history, which left more than 1,170 dead, mostly civilians, according to an AFP report. established from official Israeli data.

More than 250 people have been kidnapped and 128 remain captive in Gaza, of whom 36 are believed to have died, according to the army. In response, the Israeli army launched an offensive in the Gaza Strip that has killed 34,904 people so far, according to the Hamas Ministry of Health.

“Convergence” of views

Concerning the mediation talks in Cairo, the Al-Qahera News media, close to Egyptian intelligence, reported state of a “convergence” of views on certain points.

In Jerusalem, Benjamin Netanyahu met with CIA Director William Burns on Wednesday to discuss a possible “pause” in military operations in the southern Gaza Strip in exchange for the release of hostages, according to an Israeli official .

On Monday, a few hours before the deployment of Israeli troops in Rafah, Hamas gave the green light to a proposal presented by the mediators.

Israel responded that this proposal was “far from its demands” and repeated its opposition to a definitive ceasefire as long as Hamas, in power in Gaza since 2007 and which it considers as a terrorist organization like the United States and the European Union, would not be defeated.

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