Israel idf tank
© AFPThe UN warned on Tuesday that the Israeli army's operation at the Rafah crossing threatens to hinder Gaza humanitarian aid efforts
An Israeli official said on 7 May that Tel Aviv is carrying out a "limited" operation in Rafah after Israel announced taking control of the southernmost city's border crossing with Egypt.

This is a "limited operation," the official told the Times of Israel. "It is being implemented to pressure Hamas" into accepting a ceasefire proposal.

CNN also cited a source saying that the "limited Israeli operation into Rafah is intended to keep pressure on Hamas to agree to a deal."

Comment: Is this 'limited operation', apparently consisting of cowardly airstrikes, because even Israeli officials have admitted that, after their failed ground invasion in Gaza, to attempt the same in Rafah would likely be a 'disaster' for the IDF?

Israel announced Tuesday morning that it seized Gaza's side of the Rafah border crossing.

"IDF forces led by Division 162 began a targeted activity to thwart terrorist targets of the terrorist organization Hamas in East Rafah; As part of the operation, the forces gained operational control over the Rafah crossing on the Gaza side, following intelligence information about terrorists using the crossing for terrorist purposes," an army spokesman said.

Video footage on social media showed Israeli tanks at the Rafah crossing. The army had begun moving towards the crossing on Monday evening.

The launch of the operation at the crossing was accompanied by heavily intensified Israeli bombardment of Rafah, which has been under continuous Israeli airstrikes for weeks.

The UN warned on 7 May that the Israeli operation at the Rafah crossing poses a threat to aid deliveries into Gaza.

Rafah, Gaza's southernmost city, is desperately overcrowded with over one million besieged Palestinians, most of whom were displaced from other places of the strip throughout the war. Israel claims the city is Hamas' final stronghold and its key to victory in the war, and has for months been promising to invade the city.

Hundreds of Palestinians began fleeing the besieged city on 6 May.

The storming of Rafah came a day after Hamas informed Qatari and Egyptian mediators that it had accepted an updated proposal for a truce and prisoner exchange agreement. The resistance group had major issues with a previous Egyptian-drafted initiative that failed to guarantee a permanent ceasefire, an end to the war, and full Israeli withdrawal from Gaza.

The proposal approved by Hamas includes three 42-day phases, the Deputy Head of Hamas in Gaza, Khalil al-Hayya, told Al Jazeera, adding that the proposal would see "the complete withdrawal of Israel from Gaza, the return of the displaced, and a [prisoner-exchange deal]."

"The proposal includes in its second phase the direct announcement of a permanent cessation of military and hostile operations," the Hamas official said, adding that "the ball is now in the court of the Israeli occupation."

Sources in Israel told Hebrew Channel 13 on 6 May that Hamas has agreed to a "modified" Egyptian proposal that is "unacceptable" to Israel.

An Israeli official told AP on 4 May that Israel remains committed to attacking Rafah and will not accept a deal that includes an end to the war.