Israeli tanks enter Rafah

Israeli forces attacked the Rafah city from the ground and air, the military said, as residents reported heavy and relentless bombardments….reports Asian Lite News

Israel’s military said on Tuesday that it had started “a precise counterterrorism operation” in Rafah city in the south of the Gaza Strip and assumed “operational control” over the Rafah crossing in Gaza.

The crossing, which has served as a passage for humanitarian aid from Egypt to war-torn Gaza, was out of service, Xinhua news agency reported.

Since the beginning of the assault overnight on Monday, Israel said it has taken control of the Gaza side of the Rafah crossing, with the Israeli forces killing at least 20 militants.

Israeli forces attacked the Rafah city from the ground and air, the military said, as residents reported heavy and relentless bombardments.

The military said it had struck “military structures, underground infrastructure, and three operational tunnel shafts”.

The tensions escalated with multiple airstrikes on Rafah early Tuesday, resulting in casualties and injuries, as reported by the Palestinian Civil Defence.

“Civil defence teams have managed to pull out a number of martyrs and transport several injured individuals from under the rubble of several homes which were bombed by Israeli warplanes tonight in various places in the Rafah governorate in southern Gaza Strip,” the Palestinian Civil Defence statement read, according to CNN.

Images released by the Civil Defence depicted the grim aftermath, with several casualties recovered from beneath the rubble of bombed homes.

Palestinian official news agency WAFA confirmed eight deaths in two separate attacks on Rafah, although the precise timeline remains unclear. Rafah’s Kuwait hospital reported receiving 11 deceased individuals, according to a Facebook post in the early hours of Tuesday local time.

Amid mounting airstrikes, the Israeli Prime Minister’s Office reaffirmed on Monday the continuation of military operations in Rafah to “exert military pressure on Hamas.” The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) stated their ongoing targeted strikes against Hamas terror targets in eastern Rafah.

The escalation follows a deadly overnight bombardment from Sunday to Monday, which claimed the lives of at least 26 individuals, according to the Civil Defence, CNN reported.

Hamas accepts proposal

Hamas has accepted a proposal mediated by Qatar and Egypt, marking a potential breakthrough in the ongoing conflict in Gaza, CNN reported.

The proposal, outlined in a document obtained by CNN from a reliable source in the region, lays out a comprehensive plan aimed at de-escalating tensions and paving the way for sustainable peace.

According to the document, the agreement will be implemented in three phases, each lasting 42 days. The first phase entails the release of 33 Israeli hostages, including women, children, the elderly, and the sick, over the course of six weeks.

In exchange, Israeli forces will gradually withdraw from parts of Gaza, reconnaissance flights will be halted for 10 hours daily, and disarmed Palestinians will be allowed free movement throughout the Gaza Strip. Additionally, hundreds of Palestinian prisoners are set to be released, with specific criteria outlined for the exchange process, as reported by CNN.

Notably, the agreement stipulates that for every Israeli hostage released by Hamas, 30 Palestinian women and children will be released, along with 30 Palestinian prisoners over the age of 50 for each Israeli hostage in the same age group. Furthermore, female IDF soldiers are included in the 33 hostages, with Israel agreeing to release 50 Palestinian prisoners for every IDF woman soldier released, including 30 serving life sentences.

The humanitarian aspect of the agreement is underscored by an extensive effort to facilitate the entry of aid into Gaza, including makeshift shelters and homes, as well as the rehabilitation of key infrastructure such as hospitals and the electric plant.

The second phase of the agreement is set to focus on achieving a sustainable period of calm in Gaza, along with the release of the remaining hostages, including civilian men and IDF male soldiers. While specific details of this phase were not fully disclosed in the document, it is anticipated to build upon the progress made in the first phase, according to CNN.

The third and final phase of the agreement outlines a comprehensive rebuilding plan for Gaza, spanning three to five years. This phase underscores the long-term commitment to rebuilding the region and fostering stability and prosperity for its inhabitants.

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