Israeli military pulls troops from southern

The Israeli military says it has reduced its ground troops in the southern Gaza Strip following the conclusion of its monthslong operation in the city of Khan Younis. 

In a statement on Sunday, the IDF said it was pulling its 98th commando division “to recuperate and prepare for future operations.”

The Nahal brigade and the 162nd division remain in Gaza, which the IDF describes as “a significant force” that will continue to “operate in the Gaza Strip, and will preserve the IDF’s freedom of action and its ability to conduct precise intelligence based operations.”


An Israeli brigade is typically made up of a few thousand troops.

The IDF reported that four Israeli soldiers were killed in southern Gaza on Saturday.

It was not clear if the withdrawal constituted a planned rotation of the troops, or signaled a turning point in Israel’s strategy for its military offensive in Gaza.

Also unclear is how this plays into Israel’s plans for a ground offensive in Rafah, Gaza’s southernmost city, where as many as a million Gazans are sheltering. A ground offensive in Rafah has become an increasingly contentious point with the U.S., Israel’s strongest ally, with President Joe Biden suggesting last month that it was a qualified red line. Last week, a meeting about Israel’s plans to evacuate the city erupted into yelling, as the U.S. criticized Israel’s plans as insufficient.

It also comes amid mounting international pressure for a cease-fire, and ongoing negotiations for a hostage deal. Hamas has sent a delegation to join talks in Cairo on Sunday, with CIA Director Bill Burns also expected to take part.  

Sunday marks six months since the Hamas-led attack on Israel on Oct. 7 that killed more than 1,200 people and has led to Israel’s deadly offensive in the Gaza Strip, which has killed more than 33,000 and sparked a humanitarian crisis that has brought an estimated one million people to the brink of famine.

Reuters contributed.

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