Latest News 13-05-2024 13:02 7 Views

US offers Israel intel on Hamas leaders for pledge to hold back on Rafah

The Biden administration has been in tense talks with Israel in a bid to avoid a full-scale invasion of Rafah, the last city in Gaza to be spared the Israeli military’s offensive campaign.

The U.S. has offered Israel sensitive intelligence and supplies if the country agrees to scale back a planned invasion of Rafah, according to a report from the Washington Post.

The intelligence the U.S. is offering would allow Israel to better pinpoint Hamas leaders hidden in tunnels around the city, making it possible for the Israeli military to engage in a more precise campaign that could avoid the devastation seen in other areas of Gaza throughout the conflict.

The U.S. is also offering to provide thousands of shelters that would allow Israel to build tent cities, the report notes, and help create the delivery systems for food, medicine and water that would be needed to give the thousands of refugees that would flee the city more livable conditions.

The report comes as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has vowed to invade Rafah with ‘extreme force,’ a situation the U.S. would like to see avoided as President Biden balances support for the longtime U.S. ally with domestic pressure to draw a red line regarding Israel’s current conduct in the conflict.

Rafah is the last city in Gaza that has not faced the devastation of the war, with Israel arguing an invasion is needed to finish off the last pockets of resistance from Hamas. But destroying the city’s complex system of tunnels would likely put thousands of civilians in danger, causing the U.S. to push for Israel to implement an evacuation plan of the city before launching its campaign.

‘We have serious concerns about how Israel has prosecuted this campaign, and that could all come to a head in Rafah,’ a senior administration official told the Washington Post.

The U.S. has also been working behind the scenes with Egypt to find and cut off tunnels between Gaza and the neighboring country, which Hamas has used to replenish its supplies, administration officials told the Washington Post.

A Biden administration assessment of the situation found that Hamas is likely to welcome an extended and bloody conflict in Rafah, the reports notes, which the terrorist organization hopes would only further isolate the Jewish state from an international community that has grown increasingly inpatient with Israeli tactics in the war.

While it remains unclear if Israel has heeded the U.S. warnings in the lead-up to a potential invasion, the report notes that private discussions between officials have resulted in assurances from Israel that its forces would not launch a full-scale invasion of Rafah before evacuating roughly 800,000 civilians from the city. On Sunday, the U.N. said that roughly 300,00 people had evacuated Rafah in the previous week.

Reached for comment by Fox News Digital, a U.S. official stressed that the U.S. was not holding back information on the locations of Hamas leaders, noting that the U.S. has been helping Israel target the locations of Hamas leaders. 

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