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IDF deploys elite brigade in Rafah as Israel prepares for ground invasion

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Shillong, April 25: The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) have deployed its elite Nahal Brigade in the Rafah region of the Gaza Strip.

This a clear message that the Rafah ground invasion is imminent even as the US and other Western allies of Israel are objecting to it.

Israel defence ministry sources told IANS that the Yuftah armoured brigade and Carmeli infantry brigade of the IDF, which were in Northern Gaza, have been deployed to Central Gaza to move the Nahal brigade into the Rafah region.

It may be recalled that the Nahal brigade was involved in the ground invasion of the Central Gaza Strip and also in the Khan Younis area –the stronghold of Hamas.

Sources told IANS that once the Israeli government takes a political decision regarding Rafah operations the Nahal brigade will lead the ground offensive.

The IDF has said that there are six remaining battalions of Hamas in the Gaza Strip, including four in Rafah. It has also informed the Israel war cabinet that it has conducted all necessary preparations to take Rafah and can launch an operation the moment it gets government approval.

Meanwhile, top Israeli officials, including IDF Chief of Staff Herzi Halevi and Shin Bet head Ronen Bar, have reached Egypt and met the country’s intelligence chief Abbas Kamel and Chief of Staff Osama Askar.

Egypt had already aired its concerns that an attack on the Rafah region would lead to civilian catastrophe as well as a huge refugee exodus as Rafah borders the Sinai region of Egypt.

President of Egypt Abdel Fattah El-Sissi has already expressed concern about an attack in Rafah by the US Secretary of State Antony Blinken while the latter visited Cairo recently.

Israel intelligence agencies, including Mossad and Shin Bet, have informed the Israel War cabinet that the Rafah operation was crucial for the ultimate victory against Hamas.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has also said that Israel was moving forward with a ground operation but has not given a timeline. (IANS)

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