Israel to transfer control of Rafah crossing to private US security firm, report says

Israel to transfer control of Rafah crossing to private US security firm, report says
Israel may transfer control of the Rafah crossing to a private US security firm after taking control of it earlier this week.
2 min read
08 May, 2024
Israel attacked Rafah on Tuesday and took control of border crossings with Egypt [Getty]

Israel is planning to transfer control of the Rafah border crossing to a private US security firm, after finishing its attack on the city, the Israeli newspaper Haaretz has reported.

According to Haaretz, negotiations are ongoing with the unnamed company, which employs former elite US soldiers and specializes in securing strategic sites in Africa and the Middle East.

Israel and the US will help the firm if needed, the report added.

However, US officials have refused to confirm this.

US National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said at press conference on Tuesday that he did not have any knowledge about the transfer of control to a private US firm.

"I know nothing about your [question]," he said, with another spokesperson Matthew Miller reiterating the comments.

Miller also voiced approval of Israel’s current assault on Rafah - despite longstanding warnings that it could exacerbate the humanitarian crisis - saying it was intended to dismantle Hamas’ control of the Gaza side of the crossing.

"Israel’s occupation of the Rafah border crossing has a legitimate goal of preventing Hamas from taking control of the crossing," he said.

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On Wednesday, the Israeli army seized and closed the Rafah border crossing between Gaza and Egypt, which has been the main entry point for humanitarian aid going to the Gaza Strip since October.

Israel also has been carrying out airstrikes on eastern Rafah after issuing orders for around 100,000 Palestinians to leave the area on Monday.

Around 1.4 million forcibly displaced Palestinians are currently seeking shelter in the city. Israel has frequently threatened to storm Rafah in recent weeks amid warnings of dire consequences for the civilian population

Palestinian hospital officials said on Monday that an Israeli strike on a house in Rafah killed five Palestinians, following an earlier attack which killed 22 people, including two babies and other children.

The strikes on Rafah came soon after Hamas said it agreed to a ceasefire proposal from mediators. However, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu  said the truce proposal fell short of Israel’s demands, adding that his war cabinet approved continuing an operation in Rafah.

Since the start of Israel’s war on Gaza, at least 34,800 Palestinians have been killed and 78,000 wounded in the same time frame.

The military offensive has wreaked havoc on Gaza and plunged it into a deep humanitarian crisis, destroying schools, shelters, hospitals and bakeries.