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Continued pressure on Hamas in the city of Rafah

IDF site

Division 162 continues to operate in full force throughout the city of Rafah, and battles are being waged sporadically. Yesterday, in such a battle, Sergeant Eyal Shaines (19), from Kibbutz Efiq in the Golan Heights, was killed. Shaines was a fighter in the 931st Battalion of the Nahal Brigade, and fought in the Gaza front since the outbreak of the war. “Every time you met Eyal, he had a shy smile on his face”, members of his community said. “He was a values-oriented guy, and as part of his values education at home, he naturally enlisted to be a fighter … Our beloved Eyal will remain in our hearts forever.”

In parallel with the battles in Rafah and the damage to Hamas’ control capabilities, the division continues to act against the many tunnels found along the Philadelphi route, which is the border with Egypt and of which the IDF has completely taken over. On The road, which is only 15 kilometers long, over 25 tunnels used by Hamas over the years for transporting arms and equipment have been found so far. According to some estimates, the IDF will need at least another six months to completely destroy these tunnels and put them out of use – six months in which the IDF will of course have to control the route in an operational manner. The chief of staff himself visited Rafah last week, and was impressed by the good fighting and the high-quality activity.

And what happens later? According to American media publications, Defence Minister Galant recently published a new plan to promote the “day after” in the Gaza Strip: The division of the Gaza Strip into 24 government areas (similar to the number of battalions that existed in Hamas on the eve of the war), in which an independent Palestinian government, under Arab and Western supervision, will be gradually promoted. The big question, of course, is whether such a plan will require some cooperation on the part of Hamas, or whether it can be carried out entirely against its will. If this is the first option, Sinwar has not shown readiness for compromises in the past six months; but if this is the second option, the experiment may be able to begin in some areas in the northern Gaza Strip in the near future.

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