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Israel Takes Control of Strategic Philadelphi Corridor Between Gaza, Egypt

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JERUSALEM, Israel – In a major breakthrough, Israel announced that it has gained control over the strategic Philadelphi Corridor, cutting off the Gaza-to-Egypt terror tunnels. Israel claims the corridor served as an "oxygen line" for Hamas.

Israel Defense Forces Spokesman Daniel Hagari stated Wednesday, "Our operations in Rafah have confirmed the intelligence that compelled us to operate in Rafah in the first place. Hamas turned the Philadelphi route into a central Hamas hotbed of terror. We have now gained operational control over the Philadelphi route in Rafah."

The nearly nine-mile corridor, which runs across the entire southern edge of the Gaza Strip from the sea, was originally intended to prevent weapons and ammunition smuggling from Egyptian territory into Gaza.

Instead, Israel claims the corridor served as Hamas' lifeline, through which the terror group regularly smuggled weapons.

Hagari listed what the IDF has found: "Dozens of rockets, launchers with rockets inside ready to be fired at Israeli homes next to the border with Egypt. These are the same rocket launchers that Hamas used to fire around 70 rockets and mortars at millions of Israelis in the last recent weeks, including the recent rocket attack against Tel Aviv."

The military also found a nearly eight-mile subterranean tunnel network extending to about 20 tunnels, with explosives, grenades, and AK-47s inside. Hagari says Hamas is also holding the hostages there.

"Hamas is holding our hostages in (a) living hell across our border in Gaza, including in Rafah," he declared. "We will not stop fighting for their freedom. Every decent country in the world would do the same."

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Meanwhile, the White House says there's a new ceasefire offer on the table.

National Security Council Spokesman John Kirby announced, "There is a fresh proposal that's being worked, and I can tell you that the Israelis are fully supportive of this fresh proposal and as before have been have been willing to deal in good faith on this."

Tzachi Hanegbi, Israel's national security advisor, told Israel Public Radio that fighting in Gaza would continue for at least another seven months.

In biblical Judea and Samaria (the West Bank) terrorists wearing Hamas gear filmed themselves shooting from the Palestinian city of Tulkarem toward an Israeli community.

Later, another terrorist killed two soldiers in a car-ramming attack in Nablus.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met with visiting Former U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley, who encouraged Israelis to remain focused.

"Israel is fighting America's enemies, and I will say to you and to anybody in Israel: tune out the noise," she exhorted. "You know what your job is. Let's get the hostages home, let's beat Hamas, let's make sure Lebanon knows not to try or do anything."

Netanyahu thanked Haley for her visit and added, "I want you to know how much we appreciate the fact that you are standing with us and so too the majority of the American people. So, they understand that those who want to kill us, want to kill you."

Haley responded, "That's right." Then Netanyahu added, "Those who chant 'Death to Israel' also chant 'Death to America.' So, our victory is your victory."

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About The Author

Julie Stahl

Julie Stahl is a correspondent for CBN News in the Middle East. A Hebrew speaker, she has been covering news in Israel fulltime for more than 20 years. Julie’s life as a journalist has been intertwined with CBN – first as a graduate student in Journalism; then as a journalist with Middle East Television (METV) when it was owned by CBN from 1989-91; and now with the Middle East Bureau of CBN News in Jerusalem since 2009. As a correspondent for CBN News, Julie has covered Israel’s wars with Gaza, rocket attacks on Israeli communities, stories on the Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria and