Israeli Forces Seize Rafah Border Crossing In Gaza, Putting Cease-Fire Talks On Knife’s Edge

Israeli tanks seized control of Gaza’s vital Rafah border crossing on Tuesday as Israel brushed off urgent warnings from close allies and moved into the southern city even as cease-fire negotiations with Hamas remained on a knife’s edge.

The foray came after hours of whiplash in the Israel-Hamas war, with the militant group on Monday saying it accepted an Egyptian-Qatari mediated cease-fire proposal. Israel, however, insisted the deal did not meet its core demands.

The high-stakes diplomatic moves and military brinkmanship left a glimmer of hope alive — if only barely — for an accord that could bring at least a pause in the 7-month-old war that has devastated the Gaza Strip.

The Israeli incursion overnight appeared to be short of the full-fledged offensive into Rafah that Israel has planned, and it was not immediately known if it would be expanded. The looming operation has raised global alarm over the fate of around 1.3 million Palestinians crammed into the city — and threatened to widen a rift between Israel and its main backer, the United States.

Read more: AP