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IDF Seizes and Closes the Rafah Crossing, Stopping All Aid into Gaza

Israeli tanks rolled into Rafah. Credit: IDF X page

After airstrikes last night on the Palestinian refuge of Rafah, where an early count indicated that at least 27 people, including young children, had been killed, Israeli tanks rolled into the southern Gaza Strip after midnight and, with little or no resistance, captured their target, the Palestinian side of the Rafah crossing on the border with Egypt. The military called it a “pinpoint operation.” An Israeli official had the audacity of telling the Times of Israel that it was a “limited operation” aimed at pressuring Hamas to accept a deal—as several hours before, Hamas had already accepted the hostage/truce deal.

Hamas claimed that Israel’s renewed hostilities aimed to undermine any peace deal and called upon the U.S. to stop Israel’s assault on Rafah. The game between Washington and Israel involved U.S. President Biden calling Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu and objecting to a “major” offensive in Rafah (according to the White House readout), and Israeli authorities putting out the word that this was a “limited” mission—but without providing any details as to what those limits were.

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