Israel looking to assault Gaza's Rafah 'after Eid': Egyptian source

Israel looking to assault Gaza's Rafah 'after Eid': Egyptian source
Israel has allegedly let Egypt know that it will go ahead with a ground invasion of Rafah after Eid al-Fitr, which marks the end of Ramadan.
2 min read
27 March, 2024
Israel continues to bombard Rafah as it gears up for a potential ground invasion [Getty]

Israel will not launch its anticipated ground invasion of the southern Gaza city of Rafah until after Eid al-Fitr, according to an Egyptian source who spoke to The New Arab’s Arabic-language sister outlet on Wednesday.

Israel has reportedly informed the Egyptian government of its intentions to proceed with the Rafah operation, without specifying an exact date but indicating it will not occur before the Muslim holiday, which marks the end of Ramadan around 9 April.

The source told Al-Araby-Al-Jadeed that “security communications between the Egyptian and Israeli sides are ongoing on an almost daily basis, yet the Israeli side refrains from revealing its true intentions concerning the Rafah operation".

“Cairo has received assurances that, should a military operation in Rafah be executed, it will be aimed at specific objectives,” the source added.

Although Israel previously announced plans to invade Rafah at the start of Ramadan last month, the offensive did not occur amid warnings against the planned attack from the US and other Israeli allies.

However, according to the Egyptian source, Israel will go ahead with the attack on the southern city and will not accept a permanent ceasefire.

“The Egyptian side knows that there will not be a permanent ceasefire in the Gaza Strip because Israel … will not allow Hamas to improve its field conditions, replenish its forces, gain time, and catch its breath,” the source said.

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Last Wednesday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced the Israeli army's preparations for a ground military operation in Rafah city but noted “it will take some time”.

Following that, in an unprecedented action at the UN Security Council, the US abstained from voting on a resolution calling for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza for the remainder of Ramadan.

Subsequently, Israel cancelled the scheduled visit of a delegation to Washington, which was to discuss US alternatives to the Rafah operation, though Defence Minister Yoav Gallant was permitted to meet US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken on Tuesday.

In the meeting, Secretary of State Anthony Blinken reiterated US “opposition to a major ground operation in Rafah”, according to a State Department spokesman.

Similarly, on Monday, Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry stated “Egypt's absolute rejection and its unequivocal and indubitable warning against any Israeli military operation in Palestinian Rafah, due to the humanitarian disaster it entails, which would spiral out of control and lead to unprecedented complications.”

Rafah is crammed full of 1.3 million Palestinians, the majority of whom are refugees from other parts of the enclave targeted by Israel.