May 26th, 2024

Israeli forces take control of the Gaza side of the Rafah crossing with Egypt

By The Associated Press on May 6, 2024.

Smoke rises following an Israeli airstrike on buildings near the separating wall between Egypt and Rafah, southern Gaza Strip, Monday, May 6, 2024. (AP Photo/Ramez Habboub)

JERUSALEM (AP) – The Israeli military said it had established “operational control” over the Gaza side of the Rafah crossing in the southern Gaza Strip overnight Monday into Tuesday. Footage broadcast on Israeli media showed an Israeli flag flying on the Gaza side of the crossing, though the Israeli army refused to comment on the flag.

On Monday night, the Israeli military said it was carrying out “targeted strikes” in eastern Rafah. It said 20 Hamas militants were killed in the operation and it discovered three tunnel shafts. An Israeli army official said the vast majority of people located in the evacuation zone have left.

The crossing, just south of Gaza City, was taken over by Israeli tanks that are part of an armored brigade, the Israeli Defense Forces and Palestinian officials said.

Wael Abu Omar, a spokesman for the Palestinian Crossings Authority, said the crossing, the main entry of humanitarian aid to the war-torn strip, was out of service.

“The whole western area (of Rafah) has become a theater of operations since yesterday. The bombardment has not stopped,” said Abu Omar, adding that crews have fled the facilities because of the bombing.

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