IDF Shelling Hammers Rafah As Egypt Sends Top Intel Official To Avert Ground Offensive

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by Tyler Durden
Friday, Apr 26, 2024 - 05:45 PM

Egypt is attempting a last ditch effort to reach a ceasefire between Hamas and Israel at a moment IDF shelling of Rafah has intensified, in what are seen as 'softening' operations ahead of an imminent ground offensive, despite international calls to cancel the operation.

The Egyptian government on Friday dispatched a high level delegation to Israel led by top intelligence official Abbas Kamel. The Associated Press reported he is presenting a "new vision" for prolonged ceasefire.

But key to a breakthrough is agreement on the remaining Israeli hostages being released, and the two sides seem no closer to achieving that. The Wall Street Journal cites that "Egyptian officials familiar with the negotiations say the talks toward a hostage deal have little chance of success, but hope to use the meetings to buy time for the U.S. and regional powers to pressure Israel to pause its plans to attack Rafah."

While things heat up in the south of the Strip, the IDF has reportedly allowed many displaced Palestinians to return to their homes in northern Gaza "with minimum restrictions".

According to more via WSJ: "The main stumbling block in the negotiations now is Hamas’s demand that any deal include a credible path to a permanent cease-fire, rather than a temporary pause in the fighting, according to Egyptian and other officials familiar with the negotiations."

As for Egypt, it is bracing for a likely massive refugee influx across its border and into Sinai should an all-out Rafah assault be unleashed. Both Egypt and Israel have been establishing camps; however, these would likely reach and overflow in capacity within 24 hours of a Rafah ground operation.

One top Hamas official told international media correspondents that Hamas is willing to agree to a truce of five years or more with Israel. But Hamas has stuck by its key demand of a full Israeli military withdrawal from the Strip. At the same time Prime Minister Netanyahu has vowed to see through his vow of eradicating Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) terrorists.

Hamas has also said it is willing to lay down its weapons if Israel vows to uphold a two-state solution. Some European countries have also called for this, and have pushed for Palestine to become a full-fledged member of the United Nations.

On Friday at least five more Palestinians have been reported killed by the intensified shelling in Rafah. Currently, more than half of the total Gaza Strip population of 2.3 million are believe to be packed into the southern city. Humanitarian aid organizations are warning of an impending disaster if there is a full military ground offensive. The past weeks have seen dozens killed in similar shelling attacks.

A large segment of the Israeli population believes that Prime Minister Netanyahu is launching into a Rafah operation full-steam for the sake of his political survival. One fresh Haaretz headline, for example reads: "Fearing the End of His Coalition, Netanyahu Edges Toward Rafah Operation Over Hostage Deal".

Below are some fresh Associated Press headlines detailing the latest developments Friday...