Israel's army ready to invade Rafah in 72 hours if no cease-fire deal reached: Israeli media

Balkans
Tue, 30 Apr 2024 8:26 GMT
Egypt hosting extensive negotiations with delegations from Israel and Hamas aimed at reaching a cease-fire in Gaza.
Israel's army ready to invade Rafah in 72 hours if no cease-fire deal reached: Israeli media

Israeli media on Tuesday quoted Israeli military sources as saying that the army is prepared to invade Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip in a matter of 72 hours if no deal on a cease-fire is reached.

Egypt is hosting extensive negotiations with delegations from Israel and Hamas aimed at reaching a cease-fire in Gaza.

The Israeli Ynet news website reported that the Israeli army's Chief of Staff Herzi Halevi approved the final plans for a military offensive in Rafah along with a plan for moving civilians toward areas in the central Gaza Strip.

The news website cited an unnamed source that said the Israeli army's tanks and troops are lined up near the Gaza border, and ready for the green light to start the offensive.

It added that the next 48 to 72 hours are critical in terms of reaching a deal with the Hamas group or initiating the attack on Rafah.

On Monday, Israeli media said an Israeli delegation is scheduled to travel to Egypt to meet with Egyptian security officials on efforts for a cease-fire in Gaza.

Egypt also confirmed Monday that there is a new proposal for a truce in the blockaded Gaza Strip.

"There is a proposal on the table to reach a truce in Gaza,” Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry said during a meeting of the World Economic Forum in Saudi Arabia.

Rafah is the last remaining area in the enclave where Israel has not yet formally announced the entry of its troops to continue the onslaught against Palestinians.

Hamas is estimated to be holding more than 130 Israeli hostages, while Tel Aviv is holding over 9,100 Palestinians in its jails.

Hamas demands an end to Israel’s deadly offensive on the Gaza Strip and the withdrawal of Israeli forces from the territory for any hostage-prisoner swap deal with Tel Aviv.

A previous deal in November 2023 saw the release of 81 Israelis and 24 foreigners in exchange for 240 Palestinians, including 71 women and 169 children.

Israel has waged a brutal offensive on Gaza since a cross-border attack by the Palestinian group Hamas on Oct. 7 last year, which Tel Aviv says killed nearly 1,200 people.

Nearly 34,500 Palestinians have since been killed, mostly women and children, and over 77,600 others injured amid mass destruction and severe shortages of necessities.

More than six months into the Israeli war, vast swathes of Gaza lay in ruins, pushing 85% of the enclave’s population into internal displacement amid a crippling blockade of food, clean water, and medicine, according to the UN.

Israel stands accused of genocide at the International Court of Justice. An interim ruling in January ordered Tel Aviv to stop genocidal acts and take measures to guarantee that humanitarian assistance is provided to civilians in Gaza.

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