Israel Approves Military Operation in Rafah Hours After Hamas Agrees to Ceasefire Proposal

Israeli leaders have approved a military operation into the Gaza Strip city of Rafah, and Israeli forces are now striking targets in the area, officials announced Monday.

The move came hours after Hamas announced it had accepted an Egyptian-Qatari cease-fire proposal, which could end seven months of war in Gaza.

However, it’s uncertain whether a deal had been sealed. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office said that the proposal was “far from Israel’s essential demands,” but that it would nonetheless send negotiators to continue talks on a cease-fire agreement.

Earlier Monday, Israel’s military said it ordered around 100,000 people to evacuate Rafah, signaling the long-promised ground invasion could be imminent. Israel says Rafah is Hamas’ last stronghold. The United States says it opposes a Rafah invasion unless Israel provides a “credible” plan for protecting civilians there.

More than a million people in Rafah are huddled in tents and overcrowded apartments after fleeing Israel’s military offensive in other parts of the territory. The war in Gaza has driven around 80% of the territory’s population of 2.3 million from their homes and caused vast destruction throughout several cities. The death toll in Gaza has soared to more than 34,500 people, .

The war began Oct. 7 when Hamas attacked southern Israel, killing around 1,200 people, mostly civilians, and abducting about 250 others. Israel says militants and the remains of more than 30 others.


— Hamas accepts for Gaza after Israel orders Rafah evacuation ahead of attack.

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— its local operation and seizes some of its equipment.

— uses Holocaust ceremony to brush off international pressure against Gaza offensive.