Israel to comb through Rafah ‘inch by inch’ to eliminate Hamas’s final four battalions | EXPRESS UK

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Israel to comb through Rafah ‘inch by inch’ to eliminate Hamas’s final four battalions | Avi Melamed’s insights quoted by Aurora Bosotti for the Express UK.

EXCLUSIVE: Israel said it would continue its operations in Gaza until Hamas was fully eradicated despite international pressure to agree to a ceasefire.

Israel will continue to comb through Rafah “inch by inch” until the final four battalions left in Hamas‘s roster are eliminated, a former Israeli intelligence official claimed.

Benjamin Netanyahu has insisted he remains committed to eradicating the terror group from the Gaza Strip after his government rejected a ceasefire proposal the militants had accepted.

On Monday, Israel ordered over 100,000 people to evacuate from Rafah – Hamas’s final bastion near the border with Egypt. Following the start of the war, the area became an effective enclave and the home for over 1.4 million Palestinian refugees.

Despite international outcry and warnings of a likely civilian massacre, the Israeli armed forces are expected to carry on with their operations.

Speaking to the Daily Express, former intelligence official Avi Melamed said: “The Israeli operation also highlights the tightening of the noose around Hamas’s leaders and final bastion in Rafah.

“Its only hope is that Western leaders will urge Israel to halt its operations so that Hamas can use the hostage negotiations as a stalling tactic.

“It’s clear from its latest position that it no longer has enough living hostages to trade in any phase of the deal it shared.”

Melamed added: “Ultimately it is highly likely Israel will continue its intensive operation in Rafah, combing the city deliberately inch by inch to locate and dismantle Hamas’s final four battalions and their associated infrastructure while ramping up the military pressure on Hamas’s negotiation stance and ultimately on Yahya Sinwar and Hamas’s other Gaza-entrenched leaders.”

Palestinians welcomed news of a ceasefire with jubilation on Monday but this joy was short-lived as Israel confirmed they would not back the proposal. The Israeli Air Force began an airstrike campaign on Rafah shortly after.

The rejection of the deal was met with disappointment from some international leaders and sparked major protests in Tel Aviv from families and friends of hostages still held captive by Hamas.

The proposed ceasefire agreement would have seen the group release “33 Israeli captives (alive or dead), including women (civilians and soldiers), children (under the age of 19 who are not soldiers), those over the age of 50, and the sick.”

US president Joe Biden phoned Netanyahu twice on Tuesday to express his concerns about the operation in Rafah.

And a US official confirmed Washington had decided to “carefully review proposed transfers of particular weapons to Israel that might be used in Rafah.”

The anonymous official also said one of its shipments of weapons to Israel was “paused” following the review.

Israel to comb through Rafah ‘inch by inch’ to eliminate Hamas’s final four battalions | Avi Melamed’s insights quoted by Aurora Bosotti for the Express UK.

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Avi Melamed
Avi Melamed
Avi Melamed is an expert on current affairs in the Arab & Muslim World and their impact on Israel & the Middle East. A former Israeli Intelligence Official & Senior Official on Arab Affairs, Fluent in Arabic, English, and Hebrew, he has held high-risk Government, Senior Advisory, Intelligence & Counter-Terrorist intelligence positions in Arab cities & communities - often in very sensitive times - on behalf of Israeli Government agencies. He is the Founder & CEO of Inside the Middle East | Intelligence Perspectives - an apolitical non-partisan curriculum using intelligence methodology to examine the Middle East. As an Author, Educator, Expert, and Strategic Intelligence Analyst, Avi provides Intelligence Analysis, Briefings, and Geopolitical Tours to diplomats, Israeli and foreign policymakers, global media outlets, and a wide variety of international businesses, organizations, and private clients on a range of Israel and Middle East Affairs.

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