Israel advances on Rafah, Gaza; Ceasefire talks underway

Israel plans to extend its military operations in Gaza to the southern city of Rafah, near the Egyptian border, following claims of dismantling Hamas's stronghold in Khan Younis.

Publication: 02.02.2024 - 12:12
Israel advances on Rafah, Gaza; Ceasefire talks underway
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Defense Minister Yoav Gallant stated on Thursday that the successful operations in Khan Younis allow Israeli forces to focus next on Rafah, aiming to eliminate threats. Over half of Gaza's 2.3 million population is seeking refuge in this region, facing harsh conditions in temporary shelters.

As diplomatic efforts for a ceasefire gain momentum, Qatar and Egypt mediate a proposal agreed upon in Paris, involving Israel and the U.S., hoping for Hamas's acceptance. The proposed ceasefire would start with a 40-day halt in fighting, during which Hamas is expected to release over 100 civilian hostages, followed by the return of Israeli soldiers and deceased hostages.

This initiative marks a significant attempt to pause the conflict since October 7, when Hamas's attack on Israel resulted in 1,200 deaths and 253 hostages, triggering an extensive Israeli response devastating much of Gaza. The Palestinian death toll has reportedly surpassed 27,000, with many victims still under the rubble.

Despite the anticipation of a ceasefire, Hamas has yet to respond to the proposal, seeking assurances against the resumption of hostilities. Meanwhile, Gaza faces intensified Israeli military actions, with recent airstrikes near hospitals in Khan Younis and increased combat in northern areas previously claimed to be subdued by Israel.

In response to the conflict's broader impact, U.S. President Joe Biden has taken steps to address violence in the occupied West Bank and the recent killing of three U.S. soldiers by a drone in Jordan, attributing the drone to Iran. The U.S. continues to engage in military actions against Iran-aligned forces, signaling a complex regional dynamic amidst efforts to secure a ceasefire in Gaza.

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