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6 May, 2024 19:50

Israel launches attack on Rafah: Live updates

IDF jets struck the densely populated Palestinian city ahead of a long-promised ground invasion
Israel launches attack on Rafah: Live updates

Israeli warplanes pounded targets in the Palestinian city of Rafah on Monday night, hours after the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) warned civilians in the area that it was preparing to strike the city with “extreme force.”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has threatened for several months to send troops into the city, arguing that such an operation is necessary to guarantee Israel a “total victory” over Hamas. 

Rafah is currently home to around 1.4 million Palestinians displaced from northern and central Gaza, and the UN has warned that an Israeli invasion would be a “catastrophe” for these civilians. 

Amid fierce condemnation from the US, EU, and scores of other countries and international organizations, Netanyahu vowed last week to press ahead with the operation. The Israeli PM also stated that he would proceed with an assault on Rafah regardless of whether a ceasefire deal is reached with Hamas.

This live stream has ended.

  • 07 May 2024

    04:50 GMT

    Leaked footage appears to show an Israeli armored vehicle ramming the Gaza sign on the Palestinian side of the Rafah crossing on the border with Egypt on Tuesday morning.

    The IDF, as a rule, does not allow their service members to publish videos of ongoing operations as a safety measure, the Times of Israel wrote. The IDF has so far provided no official information as to its actions in Rafah, other than the earlier press statement about the ongoing airstrikes.

  • 03:58 GMT

    The IDF struck Tel al-Sultan refugee camp in Rafah overnight, the Jerusalem Post wrote on Tuesday, citing Palestinian reports.

  • 02:47 GMT

    If Israel follows through on threats to ramp up its operation in Rafah, it will have “negative repercussions on the indirect negotiations,” which could lead to Hamas pulling out of the ceasefire talks, a senior Hamas official told Xinhua.

  • 01:35 GMT

    The Israeli Air Force struck at least 50 targets in the Rafah area on Monday, IDF spokesperson Daniel Hagari said in a press statement, repeating a call for Palestinians to evacuate Rafah towards the north. He also said that “following the firing from the Rafah area... the Kerem Shalom Crossing was closed for security reasons.” 

    The IDF also promised Palestinians moving from Rafah towards Al-Mawasi and Khan Yunis “full humanitarian aid and where water, food, medical equipment, and shelter.”

  • 06 May 2024

    23:51 GMT

    Washington believes that the ongoing Israeli military operation in Rafah so far appears to be limited and does not represent a “major” escalation, an unnamed US official told Reuters, adding that the White House is focused on preventing a dangerous full-scale incursion into the densely populated areas.

  • 23:27 GMT

    Egypt’s al-Qahera TV has broadcast footage from the deserted Rafah crossing, with gunfire and explosions heard in the background.

  • 23:23 GMT

    Israel has sent ground forces into Rafah, seeking to capture the Palestinian side of the crucial border crossing with Egypt, Axios reporter Barak Ravid writes, citing sources with direct knowledge of the development.

    The Israeli military has yet to confirm the scale of the reported ground operation, but an unnamed Egyptian official told AP that the incursion appears to be “limited.”

    Meanwhile the Hamas-run Al-Aqsa TV said that Israel allegedly informed Egypt that its troops would withdraw after completing the “targeted operation.”

  • 22:51 GMT

    At least five people were killed and several more injured amid the ongoing Israeli strikes in Rafah, AFP reports, citing the southern Gaza city’s Kuwaiti hospital.

  • 22:11 GMT

    The Israeli PM’s office said that the ceasefire proposal accepted by Hamas is “far from Israel’s necessary requirements,” but West Jerusalem will nevertheless send a “delegation of working-class mediators to exhaust the possibility of reaching an agreement under conditions acceptable to Israel.”

  • 21:57 GMT

    King Abdullah II of Jordan has warned US President Joe Biden during a meeting in Washington that the Israeli attack on Rafah, “where about 1.4 million Palestinians are internally displaced as a result of the Gaza war, threatens to lead to a new massacre,” according to the Jordanian court’s post on X (formerly Twitter).