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Hamas Reappears in Northern Gaza While Egypt Fears Spillover of Palestinians into Sinai

Reports appeared over the weekend that Hamas has begun to reappear in northern Gaza, following the pullback of some Israeli forces, an indication, The Associated Press reported, that Israel’s central goal of crushing the group remains elusive. Video footage from the same areas shows vast destruction, with nearly every building damaged or destroyed.

Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant said the military would continue to conduct operations in northern Gaza for many months and press ahead with its main offensive in the south, where it has been locked in heavy fighting for weeks, until it has “full reign” over the entire territory. He said the offensive will eventually reach the southern town of Rafah, on the Egyptian border, where some 1.5 million displaced Palestinians have sought refuge. The approach of Israel to Gaza and the Israeli intention of taking control of the Gaza border with Egypt have already caused tensions to soar between Egypt and Israel.

However, according to a report in Israel Hayom, Cairo has warned Israel that the spillover of Palestinians into Sinai would jeopardize the peace agreement between the two countries; Egypt was the first Arab country to sign a peace treaty with Israel after the 1973 war. Israel Hayom cites two unnamed sources reporting that the messages were conveyed through contacts between senior Egyptian officials and Israeli officials, with the content relayed to Israel’s entire political-security leadership. Egypt stressed that having refugees crossing over from the Gaza Strip would be a red line.

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