update deskIsrael at War

IDF tanks roll into Rafah center—report

Witnesses told "Reuters" that they saw the armored vehicles roaming the area.

An Israeli tank during operational activity in the Gaza Strip, May 25, 2024. Credit: IDF.
An Israeli tank during operational activity in the Gaza Strip, May 25, 2024. Credit: IDF.

Israeli tanks rolled into the center of Rafah on Tuesday, according to Palestinian reports.

Eyewitnesses told Reuters that Israel Defense Forces tanks were seen near the Al-Awda mosque.

There was no immediate confirmation from Israeli military, which said that it would issue a statement on the Rafah operation later in the day.

The development comes three weeks after Israel launched its ground offensive in the last Hamas bastion in southernmost Gaza, which began in eastern Rafah but has since expanded to other areas.

According to Palestinian reports, IDF infantry was also advancing in the Tel Sultan neighborhood of northwestern Rafah, with tanks positioned there, marking the first ground operation in that part of the city.

Tel Sultan is where one of the four Hamas battalions in Rafah is located, with the others being in Yabna (south), Shaboura (north) and east Rafah, all areas where the IDF has been active in recent weeks.

The IDF spokesperson said on Tuesday that the Bislamach Brigade under Division 162 joined the fighting in Rafah. Three other brigades are already active in the area, with troops operating along the Philadelphi Corridor, an Israeli codename for a 8.7-mile long border area between Gaza and Egypt. The soldiers are conducting targeted operations against terrorist elements and infrastructure there.

According to the IDF, troops from the Nahal Brigade’s combat team located tunnel shafts, seized weapons and killed many terror operatives in the Rafah area in recent days.

Last week, Nahal Brigade soldiers found a large weapons cache and a lathe for the production of rockets and grenades, as well as explosive vests, a rocket-launch complex, platforms for making rockets and more.

Troops are also active elsewhere in Gaza, according to the IDF, including in Jabalia in the north, where dozens of terror sites were destroyed, including observation posts, weapons depots and a building used by Hamas.

Several terrorists were also killed by IDF troops over the past day in Jabalia, including a mortar-launching cell that was hit by a fighter jet.

In central Gaza, the IDF said that it expanded operations in the Netzarim Corridor, killing terrorists and conducting targeted raids.

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