Voz media US Voz.us

Israel withdraws its troops from the southern Gaza Strip

The Israel Defense Forces left only one brigade in the area, to guarantee a corridor to the sea, according to The Times of Israel.

Soldados de las Fuerzas de Defensa de Israel (FDI) durante su operación terrestre dentro de la Franja de Gaza.

Israel Defense Forces soldiers in Gaza (Cordon Press)

Published by

Six months after the Hamas terrorist massacre, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) reported that they have withdrawn ground troops from the southern Gaza Strip. "Today, Sunday April 7th, the IDF's 98th commando division has concluded its mission in Khan Yunis," the Israeli military said in a statement reported by AFP. "The division left the Gaza Strip in order to recuperate and prepare for future operations."

The three 98th commando division brigades withdrew from the area after four months of fighting because the IDF considers the "active ground invasion" stage over, according to The Jerusalem Post.

AFP assured that when asked if all troops had left southern Gaza, the IDF responded affirmatively. The Times of Israel, however, reports that a brigade, identified as Nahal, remains in the area.

Their objective, after the rest of the troops withdrew from Saturday night to Sunday morning, would be to secure a corridor from the south of the Jewish state to the Gazan coast. That, according to the local media, will be used to carry out operations in the rest of the strip, allow the delivery of humanitarian aid and prevent Palestinians from heading to the northern part of Gaza.

U.S. National Security Council spokesman John Kirby ruled out in an interview with ABC that withdrawing troops could be the beginning of a new offensive. He claimed that the troops would probably go through a period of rest and refitting, although he acknowledged that it is difficult to know with certainty what it means for the rest of the war.

Netanyahu: ‘We are one step away from victory’

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a speech to the Council of Ministers that Israel is now "one step away from victory."

"The achievements of the war are considerable: We have eliminated 19 of Hamas's 24 battalions, including senior commanders," Netanyahu said and proceeded to list other objectives that have been accomplished:

We have killed, wounded or captured a large number of Hamas terrorists. We have cleared out Shifa and other terrorist command centers as well. We have destroyed factories for producing rockets, command centers, and stores of weapons and ammunition, and we are continuing to systematically destroy underground installations.

He also added that there will be no ceasefire until Hamas releases all 133 hostages still in captivity: "It just won't happen. This is the policy of the government of Israel and I welcome the fact that the Biden administration made it clear on Friday that this still its position as well."

The Israeli leader blamed Iran, which he again accused of being behind the "many fronts" of attack, including the various actions of Hezbollah, the Houthis and militias in Iraq and Syria. This warning comes as the United States and Israel are under alert for a possible Tehran-led retaliation attack after the death of senior Iranian commanders in an Israeli operation in Damascus.

He also spoke about the recent protests in Israel, assuring that it is "time for unity." He said that the enemies of the Jewish state were "hoping that an internal rift and baseless hatred will stop us on the cusp of victory. Let our enemies not be mistaken: The decisive majority of the people is united on the need to continue fighting until victory.”