Photo by IDF Spokesperson on 8 May, 2024

Israeli Ground Forces Dismantling Tunnels in Eastern Rafah

Public By Pesach Benson • 8 May, 2024

Jerusalem, 8 May, 2024 (TPS) -- Israeli ground forces began a “precise counterterrorism operation” in specific areas of eastern Rafah, killing terrorists and locating Hamas terror infrastructure, the Israel Defense Forces said on Wednesday.

Simultaneously, based on intelligence about terrorists operating in the area, troops are also conducting targeted raids on the Gazan side of the Rafah Crossing.

Israeli forces have already begun preparations to demolish the tunnel shafts and terror facilities discovered.

Israel took control of the Palestinian side of the Rafah border crossing with Egypt on Tuesday.

In recent days, residents of certain Rafah neighborhoods received phone calls, SMS messages, air-dropped flyers, and media broadcasts instructing them to evacuate to expanded humanitarian zones in Khan Yunis and the coastal area of Al-Mawasi. The flyers included maps showing the affected zones, and aid organizations were updated on the evacuation plans.

Also receiving messages to evacuate were displaced Palestinians camping in a strip of land along the Gaza-Egypt border known as the Philadelphi corridor. This buffer zone was created to prevent weapons smuggling after Israel disengaged from Gaza in 2006. But in 2007, Hamas violently seized control of Gaza from the PA.

Israeli military vehicles were seen patrolling the length of the 12 km border.

The Egypt-Gaza border is politically sensitive, technically a demilitarized zone under the terms of the Camp David Accords signed in 1978.

Hamas’s control of the Rafah crossing allowed it to hijack humanitarian aid deliveries from Egypt.

On Sunday, Hamas fired a barrage of rockets from the area of the Rafah border crossing and near an area where displaced Palestinians were sheltering in tents. The barrage targeted the Kerem Shalom border crossing, killing four soldiers and forcing that crossing’s closure. Israeli authorities reopened Kerem Shalom on Wednesday morning.

Throughout the past day, Israeli fighter jets and aircraft struck over 100 terror targets in other areas of Gaza , including military structures, observation posts, launch posts and other Hamas infrastructure.

At least 1,200 people were killed and 240 Israelis and foreigners were taken hostage in Hamas’s attacks on Israeli communities near the Gaza border on October 7. Around 30 of the remaining 133 hostages are believed dead.