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As US-Israel spar over Rafah, cost of full invasion is higher for Biden

Fears are now on the rise over a potential full-blown Israeli incursion, despite President Joe Biden’s threat to cut off US arms transfers to Israel if it does so.
Israeli soldiers prepare a tank near the border with the southern Gaza Strip on May 2, 2024 in Southern Israel, Israel.

This is an excerpt from Security Briefing, Al-Monitor's weekly newsletter covering defense and conflict developments in the Middle East. To get Security Briefing in your inbox, sign up here.

WASHINGTON — What appeared to be the opening salvo of Israel’s long-feared invasion of Rafah came on Monday night, just hours after US President Joe Biden urged Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in a phone call not to go through with a full-blown operation.

Israeli warplanes struck targets in southern Gaza before the IDF’s 401st Armored Brigade seized the Rafah border crossing with Egypt.

Meanwhile, the IDF’s 84th Givati Infantry Brigade pushed northeast from Kerem Shalom toward the Salah ad-Din road in eastern Rafah.

To observers in Washington, it looked as if it could be the start of an invasion.

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