IDF general tells troops to continue Rafah operation until Hamas is defeated 

World News

By Aldgra Fredly 
Contributing Writer 

The Israel Defense Forces vowed to continue military operations in Rafah until the Hamas terrorist group is defeated. This followed an explosion in southern Gaza that killed eight Israeli soldiers. 

IDF Southern Command chief Maj. Gen. Yaron Finkelman said at a Saturday meeting with commanders in Rafah that they must continue their fight against Hamas as the explosion is being investigated. 

“We are here after a painful incident that occurred yesterday,” he said, according to The Times of Israel. “We lost fighters and we lost commanders during the attack. These are our best sons.” 

Finkelman said that the plan will be to keep moving forward, adding, “You are attacking [Hamas’] Rafah Brigade, and we will continue until we defeat it.” 

IDF spokesperson Daniel Hagari said on June 15 that eight IDF soldiers were killed inside an armored vehicle during an operation in Tel al-Sultan in Rafah. 

“According to the information we have at this stage, a powerful explosion occurred in one of the engineering vehicles in the convoy, seemingly caused by an explosive device planted in the area or as a result of anti-tank missile fire,” the spokesperson told a press briefing. 

Hagari added that a team of experts from the Ministry of Defense and the IDF will examine the armored vehicle and the incident “until we reach findings.” 

“IDF representatives delivered the hard news to the families, and are currently with them at this difficult time,” he added. The IDF did not mention whom they suspect was responsible for the explosion. 

The Israeli military said on Sunday that it would pause fighting during daytime hours along a route in southern Gaza to free up a backlog of humanitarian aid deliveries for Palestinians. 

“To increase the volume of humanitarian aid entering Gaza and following additional related discussions with the U.N. and international organizations, a local, tactical pause of military activity for humanitarian purposes will take place from 08:00 until 19:00 every day until further notice along the road that leads from the Kerem Shalom Crossing to the Salah al-Din Road and then further north,” the IDF said in a statement. 

The IDF added that the tactical pause is another step in aid efforts carried out by the Israeli military and that it will “continue to support humanitarian efforts on the ground.” 

The pause is aimed at allowing aid trucks to reach the nearby Israel-controlled Kerem Shalom crossing, the main entry point for aid, and travel safely to the Salah a-Din highway, a main north-south road, the military said. 

The crossing has had a bottleneck since Israeli ground troops moved into Rafah in early May. 

Hamas terrorists killed approximately 1,200 people and abducted more than 250 hostages during their attack on Israel on Oct. 7, 2023. 

This triggered an Israeli ground offensive in Gaza, which, according to the Hamas-run health department, has now resulted in more than 37,300 deaths. This number includes both combatants and civilians. 

Jack Phillips contributed to this report. 

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