Israel captures Rafah crossing, leaving 27 people dead and cutting vital lifeline of Palestinians

Israel captures Rafah crossing, leaving 27 people dead and cutting vital lifeline of Palestinians

An Israeli military official said on Tuesday that Israel’s military has captured the Rafah crossing, leaving at least 27 people dead – including six women and nine children – on the Palestinian side of the border since Monday evening, CNN reported. The news outlet was able to confirm this via hospital sources in the southern Gaza city.

According to reports, Israel’s 401st Armored Brigade took control of the crossing in southern Gaza on Tuesday morning after another brigade disconnected Salah al-Din road in eastern Rafah from the crossing overnight. The Israeli flag was raised on flag poles at the crossing, while the Palestinian flag was pulled to the ground. During the same day, rockets were fired from the Rafah area in the Gaza Strip toward Kerem Shalom and the Re’im area of southern Israel, according to the Israel Defense Forces (IDF).

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Israel’s military operation in Rafah serves the twin goals of returning the hostages held in Gaza and eliminating Hamas. Member of Israel’s war cabinet Benny Gantz further said the IDF military’s operations in Rafah will “continue and expand as necessary.” (Related: EVIL: Israel tricking Palestinian refugees into “safe” zones in Rafah, then bombing them to death.)

Observers were weary that the said invasion would further endanger the already miserable humanitarian and medical conditions in the region as the Rafah crossing is a vital lifeline for Palestinians. It is the only passageway in and out of the enclave that was not directly controlled by Israel. Since Hamas took control of the territory in 2007, the crossing has been jointly administered by Egypt and Hamas.

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Since the capture, aid trucks carrying medicine, medical equipment and fuel needed for hospitals were prevented from entering, the Palestinian health ministry said. It also said that all operations at the crossing were halted due to Israel capturing the gateway. “The wounded, sick and their relatives were prevented from traveling to receive treatment outside Gaza,” the ministry said in a statement. “We have travel lists for thousands of cases of wounded and sick, and now they have been prevented.” The health ministry already called on the countries who had requested lists of wounded and sick Palestinians to “fulfill and adhere to their pledges” by working urgently to secure their safe exit from Gaza.

The last remaining operational hospital in Rafah has also issued a call for all available medical teams to help with the constant influx of injured patients arriving at the medical facility. The remaining field hospitals in the area of an eastern Rafah hospital that was evacuated Monday will only be able to provide less than one-third of its offered services, according to the hospital medical director.

Meanwhile, the United Nations has also warned of the main aid arteries being choked off as the Israeli military announced that the Karem Abu Salem (Kerem Shalom) crossing along the boundary between Gaza, Israel and Egypt, which Israeli authorities control, had also been closed for security reasons. But Kerem Shalom has been reopened on Wednesday, May 8, following a call between President Joe Biden and Netanyahu, where the latter promised he would reopen said border.

UN chief Guterres continuously appeals to Israel and Hamas for a ceasefire

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres appealed three times in less than 24 hours to Israel and Hamas for a ceasefire, saying that it is “essential to stop the unbearable suffering of Palestinians in Gaza and of the hostages and their families.” “I reiterate my appeal for both parties to show the political courage and spare no effort to secure an agreement now,” he said.

Al Jazeera correspondent Kristen Saloomey said how it is noteworthy that the UN has refused to assist in any evacuation of displaced people in Rafah to another area, to allow for such a military operation. “The UN has said that there are too many people in Rafah, that moving them would be too dangerous, and that there’s no place safe for them to go given the areas that they’re being directed to are already overcrowded and lacking water and toilets and other essentials that people would need,” she reported.

Meanwhile, Hamas’ latest written response in ongoing ceasefire negotiations said the group intends to offer Israel the corpses of dead hostages in addition to hostages who are still alive, during the first phase of the truce, as per sources familiar with the talks. A senior representative of Hamas also said that the proposed deal it agreed to includes the “withdrawal of the occupation from the Gaza Strip.”

According to the source familiar with the meetings, Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) Director Bill Burns returned to Cairo on Tuesday for more talks as the U.S. and other mediators look to revive an effort to bring about a ceasefire-for-hostages deal.

Head over IsraelCollapse.com to read more on Israel’s ongoing war with Hamas in Gaza.

Sources for this article include:

Edition.CNN.com

MiddleEastEye.net

BBC.com

AlJazeera.com

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