Israel Says It Will Control Rafah Within Two Weeks: Report

(Amir Levy/Getty Images)
June 17, 2024

The Israel Defense Forces on Monday said that two of Hamas’s four battalions in Rafah have been destroyed and that Israel is expected to have full control of the city by the end of June, according to a report in the Jerusalem Post

Israel said Division 162, part of the IDF’s Southern Command, has operational control of roughly 60 to 70 percent of Rafah. The assault on the Hamas stronghold has left at least 550 terrorists dead and destroyed 200 tunnel shafts and Hamas’s last major rocket supply, and battles with the remaining two battalions are already underway, the IDF said. 

The development in Rafah comes just six days after Hamas rejected a U.N.-backed ceasefire proposal outlined by President Joe Biden, which would have secured the release of the remaining hostages in exchange for prisoners held in Israel. It was also announced Monday that Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu would dissolve his war cabinet following the departure of minister Benny Gantz.

Israel launched its invasion of Rafah on May 6, taking control of 30 to 40 percent of the city by May 20. Rafah is home to an estimated 1.2 to 1.4 million Palestinians who have sought refuge following the outbreak of the war on Oct. 7, when Hamas terrorists launched an attack on southern Israel that left 1,200 dead and took roughly 250 hostages. 

Concerns continue to mount surrounding the well-being of the remaining hostages, as a senior Hamas official said in a recent interview that "no one has any idea" how many are still alive.

Published under: Gaza , Hamas , Israel