RafahAbed Rahim Khatib/Flash90

Israel is ramping up dialogue with the Egyptian government in preparation for the expected ground operation in Rafah. One of the main subjects under discussion is the construction of an underground barrier at the Rafah border between Egypt and Gaza to prevent the use of smuggling tunnels, Ynet reported.

Over the past few weeks, Egypt has sent threatening messages to Israel warning against a ground operation in Rfah that could cause masses of Gazans to attempt to flee into Egypt, which has refused to accept a single refugee from the war between Israel and the Hamas terrorist organization. Some Egyptian politicians have gone as far as to threaten to cancel the 1979 peace agreement with Israel.

Cairo has claimed that Israeli action in Rafah during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan would create a crisis that would affect not only Israel but the entire region which "is on the brink of a volcano."

IDF Chief of Staff Herzi Halevi commented on the continuing war and hostage negotiations at a situational assessment in the northern Gaza Strip with the Commanding Officer of the Southern Command, MG Yaron Finkelman, the Commanding Officer of the 162nd Division, BG Itzik Cohen, and additional commanders.

"You see, we are making progress in deepening the achievement," he said. "There are areas where we have already been, and we are returning with better intelligence and are making a much greater and a more extensive achievement, in two ways, on the ground and in striking the enemy. There are places we have passed at a very high pace of combat, and we are returning to those places to conduct a very high-level area clearance."

"These activities lead us to another level of operatives, another level of commanders, and more destroyed infrastructure."