Tanks arrive in central Rafah as 30-40% of the city is under IDF control

The IDF took positions on the Zurub hilltop in western Rafah and engaged in gun battles with terrorist forces.

By Vered Weiss, World Israel News

Israeli tanks rolled into the center of Rafah for the first time on Tuesday, Reuters reports.

In the three weeks since Israel began its campaign in the southern Gaza city, the IDF has gained control of 30-40% of Rafah, and 60% of its residents have been evacuated.

The tanks were seen near Al-Awda mosque, a central Rafah landmark.

Israeli tanks took positions on the Zurub hilltop in western Rafah, and IDF troops engaged in gun battles with terrorist forces located there.

According to Kan News, four IDF brigades entered central Rafah overnight, including the 401st Armored Brigade, the Nahal Brigade, the 12th Brigade, and the Bislach Brigade.

On Sunday, two senior Hamas terrorists were killed in an Israeli airstrike in the area of Tel Sultan in northwestern Rafah.

Also on Sunday, it was reported that an Israeli airstrike may have sparked a fire in a tent camp that may have led to the accidental death of 45 Palestinians, and the IDF is investigating the matter.

The terrorists targeted and killed in the strike were Yassin Rabia, the head of Hamas’s Judea and Samaria division, and Khaled Nagar, a senior official in Hamas’s Judea and Samaria wing.

Read  Hamas claims it has captured IDF troops in northern Gaza

Rabia and Nagar planned and executed terror attacks in the 2000s in Judea and Samaria that killed and wounded Israeli soldiers and civilians.

They also transferred funds for terrorist activities in Judea and Samaria and planned and directed attacks there.

Although US President Joe Biden urged Israel not to operate in Gaza and even threatened to withhold funds to discourage it, Washington has since eased its position.

It seems to be taking partial credit as if they approved military action in Rafah all along.

“This Administration never supports anything we do until we do it,” a senior Israeli official told the The Wall Street Journal. 

Washington shifted on the news last week that Israel had successfully evacuated 950,000 civilians.

A US official told reporters, “It’s fair to say that the Israelis have updated their plans. They’ve incorporated many of the concerns that we have expressed.”

The official also acknowledged that the Rafah operation may give Israel leverage and “opportunities for getting the hostage deal back on track.”