Monday, April 15, 2024
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US, Israel to hold virtual meet on Rafah operations

The US and Israel will hold a virtual meeting of senior officials regarding the Rafah operations. The meeting will be held later on Monday. The US side is likely to be led by Brett McGurk, the Special envoy of the US President in charge of Middle East, while the Mossad Chief David Barnea, Shin Bet head Ronen Bar and other senior officials.

According to Israel Defence Ministry sources, the US side had informed Israel for such a meeting as the latter has publicly said that it was prepared for an all-out attack on Rafah.

The US, it may be recalled has been totally opposed to such a ground invasion in Rafah region, which is the southernmost tip of Gaza Strip and densely populated.

Also Read: Over 1.1 mn people in Gaza facing food insecurity: UN

An estimated 1.3 million people are in the Rafah area that include a large number of people displaced from north and central Gaza since the war commenced on October 7, 2023.

The US Secretary of State Antony Blinken had recently met the Middle eastern leaders during his visit to Cairo and Riyadh . In the meeting, the Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi has clearly told Blinken to prevent any ground invasion by Israel in Rafah area sharing its borders with Egypt.

Egypt has also informed Blinken that once the incursion begins there would be an unprecedented flow of people from Rafah into the Egyptian area and that would lead to major issues.

However, the Israeli side led by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the Defence Minister Yoav Gallant are pushing for a ground invasion into Rafah to defeat Hamas and release the hostages.

The Israeli intelligence, including Mossad, Shin Bet and military intelligence have provided inputs to the Israel war cabinet that the Hamas is almost defeated militarily and that it has only four battalions remaining in the Rafah region.

The Intelligence agencies have also reported that a final push was imminent to give a crushing defeat to Hamas militarily and that this would pave the way for a proper negotiation in the release of the hostages.

With the US and the Israel diametrically opposite on the issue of military invasion into Rafah, it has to be seen how smooth the virtual meeting would be.

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