IDF takes Rafah crossing, Egypt blocks fleeing Gazans

Dozens of Gazans attempting to flee the Hamas stronghold of Rafah were blocked from crossing into Egypt.

By World Israel News Staff

The Israeli army took control of the Gazan side of the Rafah border crossing on Tuesday morning, as images circulating on Arabic-language news sites and social media appeared to show the Israeli flag raised over the former Hamas-administered site.

The 401st Armored Brigade captured the crossing, cutting it off from the major thoroughfare of Salah a-Din road. That route was separately captured by the Givati Brigade overnight, the army said.

A video, which was apparently filmed by an Israeli soldier, depicted a tank mowing down flagpoles, atop which the Palestinian flag was mounted, at the Rafah crossing.

Hours into the offensive, some 20 terrorists who attacked troops were killed and IDF soldiers discovered three “significant” tunnels, the army said.

A car filled with explosives, which was headed towards soldiers, was “struck and destroyed” before being able to harm troops, the military statement added.

Late Monday evening, Israel appeared to begin its long-delayed military operation in the city, albeit in a limited manner targeting specific neighborhoods within Rafah.

According to a Ynet report, the Israeli air force has launched aerial attacks against some 100 targets in the Rafah area.

Locals reported hearing heavy bombing and shelling throughout the late night and early morning hours.

IDF spokesman Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari confirmed that Israel was carrying out “targeted” raids in east Rafah, but did not share details regarding the expected duration or scale of the operation.

Dozens of Gazans attempting to flee the Hamas stronghold of Rafah were been blocked from crossing into Egypt by Egyptian soldiers, according to initial reports on Tuesday morning.

Hours before, the Israeli army had reached out to residents of eastern Rafah via SMS and phone calls, urging them to evacuate the area.

This is a developing story and will be continuously updated.