May 11, 2024 | Flash Brief

Israel Expands Rafah Operation After Hamas Launches Rockets at Beersheba

May 11, 2024 | Flash Brief

Israel Expands Rafah Operation After Hamas Launches Rockets at Beersheba

Latest Developments​

Hamas launched nine rockets from the southern Gaza city of Rafah toward the Israeli city of Beersheba on May 10. Early on May 11, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) urged Gazans in a district of eastern Rafah to evacuate — a likely precursor to new Israeli tank and troop incursions. On May 9, Israel’s war cabinet had approved a “limited” expansion of the “area of operation” in Rafah. Since the Rafah operation began on May 6, approximately 300,000 civilians have left Rafah for a nearby humanitarian zone, according to the IDF.

Hamas launched a total of 14 rockets from Gaza at Beersheba on May 10, including five rockets fired from central Gaza. Four of those rockets fell into open spaces and one was intercepted by Israel’s Iron Dome. The attack lightly wounded one woman. The day marks the first Hamas rocket attacks since December 2023 against Beersheba, an Israeli city in the Negev desert located 25 miles from the Gaza border. In response, the Israeli Air Force struck two Hamas launch sites in Rafah.

Expert Analysis​

“For all the hand-wringing in Washington, it would appear that Israel, even as it stops short of crossing President Joe Biden’s ‘red line’ in Rafah, is making gains. In just five days, the IDF has managed to relocate between one fifth and one quarter of the city’s civilian population. At that pace, if unrestrained, Israel could potentially clear enough non-combatants within three weeks to take on Hamas with full force.” — Mark Dubowitz, FDD CEO

“Despite months of media reports about Israeli plans to invade Rafah, it is essential to acknowledge that the southern city is merely one critical component of the broader effort to destroy Hamas and its affiliates in the Gaza Strip. While securing Rafah and controlling the Philadelphi Corridor are crucial objectives, a significant amount of work and time lie ahead for Israel to achieve the objectives it set for itself at the beginning of the war.” Joe Truzman, Senior Research Analyst at FDD’s Long War Journal

Ceasefire Negotiation Challenges Continue

Hamas announced on May 6 that it had adopted a ceasefire proposal that Israel had not agreed to or seen, then subsequently accused Jerusalem of returning negotiations to square one, Reuters reported.

On May 11, the Palestinian terrorist group announced the death of 51-year-old British-Israeli captive Nadav Popplewell, one of the 132 hostages held by Hamas. On May 10, Hamas said it had prevented another Israeli hostage from committing suicide.

Israel’s Rafah operation met with US warning of munitions pause,” by Seth J. Frantzman

IDF Takes Control of Gaza Side of Rafah Crossing,” FDD Flash Brief

Israel Calls on Civilians to Evacuate Rafah,” FDD Flash Brief

Issues:

Israel Israel at War