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Israel Takes Control of Gaza’s Rafah Border, Crossing Shuts Down

May 7, 2024
Image Credit: Motasem A Dalloul/X

The Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) confirmed on the morning of 7 May that its tanks and ground troops are now in control of the Gazan side of Rafah Crossing.

Israel’s decision to invade the Palestinian side of Rafah effectively shuts down the crossing and prevents any urgent humanitarian aid from entering the city.

A separate IDF operation also resulted in Israel exercising control over Salah Al-Din Road, a significant road leading up to the crossing bordering Egypt.

Israel’s military offensive comes shortly after Hamas agreed to the most recent ceasefire terms presented by a joint Qatari-Egyptian delegation in Cairo on 5 May – a pivotal moment so far ignored by the Israeli war cabinet in favour of a Rafah operation.

Israel responded by saying the terms did not meet their demands, opting to press on with the Rafah ground invasion. Despite its initial refusal, Israel said confirmed it would send a delegation to further discuss the terms.


Israel’s decision to invade Gaza’s southernmost city was seen as imminent by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu since the beginning of the war on Gaza.

Rafah was initially one of the final safe zones for displaced Palestinians looking to flee from the Israeli airstrikes that destroyed north Gaza.

Despite warnings from Egypt and other governments, Netanyahu formally approved a ground invasion in Rafah on 16 March, compromising the lives of one million Palestinians restricted to the south.

On 5 May, Israeli air forces dropped leaflets on approximately 100,000 Palestinians in east Rafah to escape to Khan Yunis – granting them less than a day to move before the invasion.

This tactic mimics the beginning of the war when the IDF informed hundreds of thousands of Palestinians to flee northern Gaza in less than 24 hours to leave the area before its airstrike operation.


Since the short-notice warning, Israel has conducted carpet bombing operations on east Rafah on the night of 6 May. The airstrikes resulted in the killing of 21 Palestinians and wounding dozens more.

As the Israeli military continues its unrelenting attacks on Gaza, the Palestinian death toll has increased to 34,735, many of whom were children and women, with 78,108 others injured and thousands more trapped under the rubble.

The Qatari delegation is returning to Cairo on 7 May for an emergency meeting to rediscuss ceasefire terms.

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