May 23, 2024 | Flash Brief

Terrorist Rockets Discovered Next to Gaza’s Border With Egypt

May 23, 2024 | Flash Brief

Terrorist Rockets Discovered Next to Gaza’s Border With Egypt

Latest Developments

Israeli forces operating in the southern Gazan city of Rafah discovered Palestinian rockets primed for launch next to the Egyptian border on May 22.  

The rocket cache, concealed in what appeared to be a utility box, was within a few dozen yards of the fence separating Gaza from the Egyptian Sinai, IDF footage showed. Troops belonging to the 401st Armored Brigade safely detonated all the rockets, the IDF said. In a separate operation, troops from the IDF’s Givati Brigade discovered Hamas missiles and projectiles as well as a number of “significant underground” sites at a graveyard in the eastern half of Rafah, The Times of Israel reported.        

Expert Analysis

“Team Biden is slowly coming around to recognizing the success of Israel’s Rafah operation, which — as Jake Sullivan noted — is still unfolding. The administration is also, belatedly, calling out Egypt for its deeply cynical shuttering of the Rafah humanitarian crossing on its border with the Gaza Strip. Perhaps, now that they’ve seen rockets installed on Palestinian soil in full view of Egyptian border guards, ready to be used against Israel, President Biden’s national security team will finally connect the dots regarding the double-game Cairo is playing.” Mark Dubowitz, FDD CEO

“Similar to previous operations in Gaza City, Khan Yunis, and Shujaiya, the Israeli military is slowly discovering the extent of Hamas’s infrastructure in Rafah. Moreover, as the IDF goes below ground, they may uncover the most significant revelations of the war. The vast network of tunnels, some of which extend into Egypt, may hold a treasure trove of intelligence, including the whereabouts of hostages and Hamas leaders.” — Joe Truzman, Senior Research Analyst at FDD’s Long War Journal

Rafah Empties as Israeli Operation Proceeds

The slow advance of tanks and troops on Rafah, which began on May 6 after weeks of public disagreement between Israel and the United States about whether Palestinian civilians could be safeguarded, is continuing. Israeli forces are now in position on the western approach to the city after taking control of its eastern districts and much of the Egyptian border corridor in the south.     

Almost 1 million Palestinians have left Rafah after receiving Israeli evacuation orders, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told CNN’s Jake Tapper. That represents well over two-thirds of the wartime population of Rafah, which hosts hundreds of thousands of Palestinians displaced from other areas of the Gaza Strip.    

“A million — 950,000 — have already left, and there are very few civilian casualties, because we are doing everything to get them out,” he said.

Speaking to reporters in Washington, U.S. National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan said that during his visit to Israel earlier in the week, he had been briefed “on refinements that Israel has made to its plans to achieve its military objectives while taking account of civilian harm.”

 “We now have to see what unfolds from here,” Sullivan added.      

Israel: 50 Rafah Tunnels to Egypt Unearthed,” FDD Flash Brief

Israel Strikes Hamas Command Center Under UNRWA Complex,” FDD Flash Brief

Hamas Targets Kerem Shalom Aid Crossing and Israeli City of Ashkelon,” FDD Flash Brief

Issues:

Arab Politics Egypt Israel Israel at War