IDF, Shin Bet heads in Egypt to discuss Rafah ground operation

Halevi and Bar meet with Cairo's spy chief to discuss future operations in last Hamas bastion; senior defense official says army prepared, awaits government approval

IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Herzi Halevi and Shin Bet Director Ronen Bar visited Egypt on Wednesday and met with Egyptian intelligence chief Abbas Kamel to discuss future operations in Rafah.
A senior defense official told Reuters on Wednesday the IDF has conducted all necessary preparations to take Rafah, which it deems the last Hamas bastion in the Gaza Strip, and can launch an operation the moment it gets government approval.
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רונן בר , ההרס ברפיח, הרצי הלוי
רונן בר , ההרס ברפיח, הרצי הלוי
IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Herzi Halevi and Shin Bet Director Ronen Bar
(צילום: MOHAMMED ABED / AFP , EPA / ABIR SULTAN, דובר צה"ל)
A government spokesperson said on Wednesday Israel is "moving ahead" with an assault on Hamas in Rafah, the only Gaza Strip city yet to be subjected to a ground offensive in the half-year-long war, and will work to spare Palestinian civilians there.
Over a million Palestinian civilians displaced by fighting elsewhere in the coastal enclave are sheltering in sprawling tent encampments or with relatives across the highly crowded city whose population numbered around 300,000 before the outset of the war.
Israel has been putting off its ground invasion of Rafah for months, facing immense international pressure over concerns of mounting civilian casualties and the deteriorating humanitarian condition in the territory after six months of fierce fighting and effective blockade.
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