Israel's army defeats half of Hamas forces in Rafah: IDF

Jerusalem, Jun 18 (IANS): Israel's military has said that its troops have defeated about half of the Hamas forces in Gaza's Rafah.

According to a statement issued on Monday by the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), soldiers from the 162nd Division, which has been fighting in Rafah for more than 40 days, have killed about "550 militants in the city, while 22 Israeli soldiers lost their lives during the battles", Xinhua news agency reported.

Two of the four Hamas battalions in Rafah are "on the verge of being defeated", the army said, adding that ground battles are still ongoing against the other two battalions.

The Israeli forces gained "operational control" over the entire area between Gaza and Egypt, known as the Philadelphi Corridor, according to the army.

"Now the forces on the ground are working to continue and complete the mission. It is estimated that it will take a few more weeks to complete the mission in Rafah," the army said.

About 200 tunnel shafts and 25 tunnel routes, some crossing to Egypt and suspected to be utilized for smuggling activities, have been located, according to the statement.



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Title: Israel's army defeats half of Hamas forces in Rafah: IDF

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