Israeli forces advance deeper into Rafah as Hamas rejects ceasefire deal

The Israeli military said in a statement it was continuing ‘intelligence-based, targeted operations’ in Rafah.

By The Algemeiner and Reuters

Israeli tanks advanced deeper into the western area of Rafah.

Israel said its assault aimed to wipe out Hamas’ last intact combat units in Rafah, a city that had sheltered more than a million people before the latest advance began.

Most of those people have now moved north towards Khan Younis and Deir Al-Balah in the central Gaza Strip.

The Israeli military said in a statement it was continuing “intelligence-based, targeted operations” on Rafah, saying forces in the past day had located weapons and killed Palestinian terrorists in close-range combat.

Over the past day, the military said it had struck 45 targets across the Gaza Strip from the air, including military structures, terrorist cells, rocket launchers and tunnel shafts.

CEASEFIRE PROPOSAL

Hamas welcomed a new U.S. ceasefire proposal but made amendments, reaffirming its stance that any agreement must secure an end to the war, a demand Israel still rejects.

Israel described Hamas’s response to the new U.S. peace proposal as total rejection. But the efforts to secure an agreement are still continuing, according to mediators Qatar and Egypt, backed by the United States.

Since a brief week-long truce in November, repeated attempts to arrange a ceasefire have failed, with Hamas insisting on a permanent end to the war and full Israeli withdrawal from Gaza.

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