Iran attack puts Israeli Rafah invasion on ice: Report

Displaced Palestinians who fled Khan Younis, sit outside makeshift shelters in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip on December 4, 2023.

Israel was on the verge of launching a ground offensive on the Gazan city of Rafah but delayed the campaign after Iran launched a massive retaliatory attack on Israel over the weekend, CNN reported on 15 April.

Citing Israeli sources, CNN reported that the Israeli Air Force was set to begin dropping leaflets on parts of Rafah on Monday in preparation for a ground offensive into Rafah – Gaza’s southernmost city where more than 1 million displaced Palestinians are sheltering from Israel’s six-month bombing campaign.

Those plans were allegedly halted after Iran launched an attack of some 300 missiles and drones toward Israel late Saturday. Most were intercepted by Israeli anti-missile systems, but several missiles successfully penetrated Israel’s vaunted defenses and hit a key military base and intelligence collection center.

Israel’s war cabinet spent Sunday and Monday debating a possible response to the Iranian attack, which was in retaliation to Israel’s bombing of the Iranian consulate in Damascus two weeks ago, which killed a top Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) general.

CNN wrote that according to one Israeli official, “Israel remains determined to carry out a ground offensive in Rafah, although the timing of civilian evacuations and the coming ground offensive remains unclear at the moment.”

The Israeli military declined to comment.

Netanyahu has publicly threatened to invade Rafah for months, claiming it is necessary to dismantle Hamas’s remaining battalions. UN officials and aid workers have warned an invasion of the border city would result in a “bloodbath” due to the roughly 1.4 million civilians concentrated there, including many living in tents and with no safe place to flee.

Israel’s ongoing war on Gaza, which has killed over 33,000 Palestinians and is widely viewed as genocide, is influencing the war cabinet’s discussions about a potential response to Iran’s attack.

Opening another war front with Iran would require moving attention and resources away from Gaza, where Israel seeks to defeat Hamas, ethnically cleanse the 2.3 million-strong indigenous Palestinian population, and establish Jewish colonies.

Source: The Cradle

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