Israel’s war cabinet approves expansion of Rafah operation — RT World News

The United States threatened to cut off supplies of offensive weapons if Israel entered population centers in Gaza City

a “measured expansion” Multiple media outlets reported that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's security cabinet approved the Israeli operation in the densely populated city of Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip on Thursday evening.

These reports come after US President Joe Biden pledged to stop supplying offensive weapons to Israel if its army enters population centers in the city.

Tanks and Israeli army forces entered the eastern part of Rafah in the early hours of Tuesday morning, and seized the border crossing linking Gaza and Egypt, in addition to launching air strikes.

Axios reported on Friday “Expanding the area of ​​operations” It was approved, citing three sources familiar with the decision. Hebrew media also reported that the Israeli army had expanded its area of ​​operations.

Two of Axios' sources said that the operation does not cross the red line announced by Biden, while a third believes so “It can be explained by the United States” It also goes too far.

The three said that the Cabinet had instructed Israeli negotiators to continue efforts to reach an agreement to release the hostages captured by Hamas in its October 7 cross-border attack on Israel. National Security Minister Ben Gvir and Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich are said to have voted against this decision.

Netanyahu said on Thursday that Israel is ready for this “stands alone” In its war on Gaza after Biden threatened to stop the supply of certain weapons. “If we have to stand alone, we will stand alone.” He said.

According to US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, Washington has already halted an arms shipment to Israel due to concerns about Rafah, which currently houses 1.4 million Palestinians who fled the northern parts of the Strip that have been subject to Israeli bombing since October.

Reuters reported on Friday that Israeli tanks took control of the main road between the eastern and western parts of the city, while Hamas said it attacked Israeli tanks near a mosque in the east.

The Israeli military reported on X (formerly Twitter) that some Hamas fighters were killed in “face-to-face” battles with its forces near the border crossing and that several underground tunnels dug by Palestinian fighters had been found.

The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) said that about 110,000 people have so far fled from Rafah in search of safety amid increasing attacks. “There is no safe place in the Gaza Strip and living conditions are terrible.” The agency wrote on X.

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