Israeli troops seize Rafah border crossing, imperiling Gaza aid

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Israeli forces took control of the Rafah border crossing in the southern Gaza Strip on Tuesday. This action halted the aid flow and caused many civilians to flee as Israel aimed to weaken Hamas in the region. The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) stated that they had gained control of the Palestinian side of the crossing as part of a counterterrorism operation in Rafah, which borders Egypt.

The incursion on Tuesday was limited and did not escalate into a full-scale ground offensive as threatened by Israel. However, the closure of the crossing, a vital entry point for aid to southern Gaza, raised concerns about the delivery of essential supplies to displaced Palestinians. U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres called for the immediate reopening of the crossings and urged Israel to pursue diplomatic solutions.

Israel informed the United States that the operation in Rafah was of limited scope and aimed to prevent Hamas from smuggling arms across the border. National Security Council spokesman John Kirby emphasized the importance of reopening the crossing promptly.

Videos and photos verified by The Washington Post showed Israeli forces at the crossing, where they had raised Israeli flags. One video depicted an Israeli tank destroying an “I love Gaza” sign at the site.

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