Wednesday Briefing

Watching an area of Rafah hit by Israeli strikes on Tuesday.Credit…Hatem Khaled/Reuters

Negotiators arrived in Cairo after Israel seized Rafah crossing

Delegations from Israel and Hamas arrived in Cairo yesterday to resume talks on a proposed cease-fire deal. Hours earlier, Israeli tanks and troops entered the southern Gaza city of Rafah and seized control of the border crossing with Egypt, halting the flow of aid into the enclave. U.N. officials warned that the humanitarian crisis in the besieged territory would worsen. Here’s the latest.

Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister who is under pressure from the U.S. and other allies to agree to a truce, said that while he had sent negotiators back to the talks, “in tandem, we continue waging the war on Hamas.”

Analysts said that Israel’s incursion into Rafah could either ratchet up the pressure on Hamas to make a deal or sabotage the talks. But the move did not appear to be the full ground invasion of Rafah that Israel had long been threatening and that its allies had been working to avert, and the Israeli military called the move “a very precise” counterterrorism operation.

Devastating consequences: The head of a hospital in Rafah said that 27 bodies and 150 wounded people had been brought to his facility since the start of the incursion. The Israeli military said it had killed about 20 people in Rafah, describing the dead as Hamas militants.

Analysis: Netanyahu, under pressure from all sides, is trying to reassure his many domestic, military and diplomatic critics. Here’s a look at what he is confronting.

In other news from the war:

  • International officials condemned the incursion. Egypt’s Foreign Ministry called Israel’s seizure of the Rafah border crossing a “dangerous escalation,” while Josep Borrell Fontelles, the top E.U. diplomat, said that he feared it would cause “a lot of casualties.”

  • President Biden paused an arms shipment to Israel last week to prevent the U.S.-made weapons from being used in an assault on Rafah, administration officials said last night.

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