Israel Battles Hamas In Rafah As U.S. Halts Some Weapons Shipments

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Hamas and Israel are battling on the outskirts of the Gaza Strip’s crowded southern city of Rafah on Wednesday. This comes after a U.S. official said Washington had halted a shipment of powerful bombs that Israel could use in a full-scale assault.

A senior U.S. official said ruler Joe Biden’s administration paused a shipment of weapons to Israel last week in an apparent response to the expected Rafah offensive. The White House and the Pentagon declined to comment.

The U.S. halted a weapons shipment saying it believes a revised Hamas ceasefire proposal may lead to a breakthrough in an impasse in negotiations, with talks resuming in Cairo on Wednesday.

A senior Israeli official declined to confirm the report that the weapons were delayed, and said: “If we have to fight with our fingernails, then we’ll do what we have to do.”  A military spokesperson said any disagreements were resolved in private.

But Israel has said publically repeatedly that it would invade Rafah in spite of any ceasefire agreement. Israel has continued to say that it intends to completely eliminate Hamas before the war can end.

Netanyahu: Rafah Invasion Will Happen Regardless Of Hostage Deal

The major assault on Rafah was said to defeat thousands of Hamas fighters it says are holed up there, but Western nations and the United Nations have warned a full-scale attack on the city would be a humanitarian catastrophe.

According to a report by Reuters, armed groups of Hamas, Islamic Jihad and Fatah said in separate statements that gunfights continued in the central Gaza Strip, while residents of northern Gaza reported heavy Israeli tank shelling against eastern areas of Gaza City.

Israel Invades Rafah Just Hours After Hamas Accepted A Ceasefire Agreement

On Monday, Israel declared that a three-phase proposal approved by Hamas was unacceptable because terms had been watered down. White House spokesperson John Kirby said a new text presented by Hamas suggests the remaining gaps can “absolutely be closed.”

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