Israeli troops are in central Rafah, the IDF confirms


The Israeli army remains in central Rafah, the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) confirmed in a statement on Friday, despite international concern and anger over its military operation in the city south of Gaza.

An IDF statement confirms what eyewitnesses told CNN earlier this week when tanks were seen in central Rafah for the first time since entering the city earlier this month.

“IDF troops found Hamas rocket launchers, terrorist tunnel shafts and weapons in central Rafah. Troops also dismantled a Hamas weapons storage facility in the area,” the IDF said in a statement.

On Wednesday, the Israeli military said it had established “operational control” over the Philadelphia Corridor, a 14-kilometer (8.7-mile) buffer zone in Palestinian territory along the Egypt-Gaza border.

Palestinian telecommunications company Jawwal reported Thursday that access to cell phone services in Rafah was disrupted due to continued Israeli attacks. Report.

Israel’s incursion into Rafah in early May marked a new phase in its war against Hamas in Gaza, which has killed more than 36,000 Palestinians and displaced the majority of the area’s population, sparking a humanitarian catastrophe, according to health officials in the enclave. International Agent.

Over the weekend, Israel launched an airstrike on a refugee camp in the city, killing dozens and sparking global outrage. Israel said the strike took out two Hamas leaders.

Footage obtained by CNN showed the camp engulfed in flames, with scores of men, women and children frantically trying to hide from the nighttime attack. Charred bodies, including children, were seen being pulled from the rubble by rescuers.

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“The word tragic doesn’t even begin to describe it,” U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris said of Tuesday’s incident, but neither she nor President Joe Biden said the strike crossed a red line for U.S. support.

Biden had said In a CNN interview earlier this month That he would not allow certain American weapons Used in a major attack in Rafah.

The IDF presence in central Rafah confirmed that it had ended its operations in eastern Jabalya, north of the Gaza Strip.

02:56 – Source: CNN

‘Absolute horror’: Watch footage from Gaza camp after Israeli attack

The army said in a statement that its troops destroyed 10 kilometers (six miles) of tunnels and weapons production sites in the Jabalya operation, which began earlier this month and which the IDF described as “intense fighting and close encounters” with militants.

The statement also said that the bodies of seven hostages were recovered during the operation. The hostages were killed on October 7 and their remains were later flown to Gaza.

But Mahmoud Bassal, a civil defense spokesman in Gaza, told CNN on Friday that Jabalya was a “devastated area” where “entire residential squares” had been destroyed following the Israeli presence.

“The Zabalya camp is not suitable for life, unfortunately,” Basel said. “There are no water wells, schools or hospitals, all of which have been completely destroyed. There is nothing to enable civilian life in this area, and many martyrs and houses have been leveled to the ground, with civilians in them, and bodies cannot be recovered from under the rubble.

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Israel resumed fighting in northern Gaza earlier this month. Although It claimed to have dismantled Hamas’ command structure in the area in January.

The renewed fighting shows the challenges Israel faces in achieving its goal of destroying Hamas, a top defense official warned of war this month. May last till next year.

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