Israeli Defense Minister says Rafah operation ‘will intensify’ with deployment of more troops

Gallant: ‘This operation will intensify, and Hamas is not an organization that can regenerate itself now.’

By Vered Weiss, World Israel News

Despite US warnings about avoiding a full Rafah invasion, Israel’s Defense Minister Yoav Gallant announced that additional troops would be deployed in Gaza in an effort to destroy the final stronghold of Hamas in Gaza.

In a statement released by Gallant’s office on Thursday, he wrote, “This operation will continue with additional forces that will enter [the area].”

“Several tunnels in the area have been destroyed by our forces, and more tunnels will be destroyed soon,” Gallant says in remarks provided by his office.

Overnight on Wednesday, the IDF deployed the Commando Brigade to Rafah, joining the 162nd Division’s Givati and 401st brigades which have been there since earlier this month.

Gallant added, “This operation will intensify, and Hamas is not an organization that can regenerate itself now.”

He continued, “It has no reserves, it has no ability to manufacture weapons, it has no supplies, it has no munitions, it has no ability to properly treat terrorists who are injured, and this means that we are wearing it down.”

The Biden Administration has repeatedly warned against a Rafah operation because of the 1.4 million Gazan civilians located there.

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Recently, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced that 500,000 civilians had been evacuated from Rafah to prepare for the IDF’s operations.

Currently, the IDF has been engaged in targeted strikes against specific terror targets in the region rather than a full-scale invasion.

However, the increase of troops in the region may rankle the Biden Administration, which has threatened to hold up aid to Israel if Israel invades Rafah.

However, despite warnings, the US sent $1 billion in military aid earlier this week, and said it would delay the shipment of 2-thousand pound bombs to discourage Israel from carrying out intensive airstrikes in the region.

In addition to the goal of eliminating Hamas’s infrastructure, another objective in the Rafah operation is to put military pressure on Hamas to free the remaining 132 hostages, particularly after the terror group refused to agree to the terms of the most recent hostage deal negotiated in Qatar.