Support Us

Israel withdraws troops from southern Gaza, but war is far from over − IDF

Monday, 8 April 2024, 09:30
Israel withdraws troops from southern Gaza, but war is far from over − IDF
Israeli military in Gaza. Photo: IDF.IL

The Israel Defence Forces (IDF) has withdrawn its units from the southern Gaza Strip on the night of 6-7 April, but the war with Hamas is ongoing and remains far from over, said Lieutenant General Herzi Halevi, Chief of Staff of the IDF.

Source: The Times of Israel; CNN; The Jerusalem Post

Details: Halevi also stated that the IDF will know how to return to combat if there is a ceasefire as part of an agreement to release hostages and that bringing hostages back is a more urgent issue than other goals.


Quote from Halevi: "We are fighting this war differently, it is different from its predecessors. The war in Gaza continues, and we are far from stopping. Senior Hamas officials are still in hiding. We will get to them sooner or later. We are making progress, continuing to kill more terrorists and commanders and destroy more terror infrastructures, including last night."

Details: He stated that Israel "will not leave Hamas brigades active in any part of the Strip".

"We have plans and we will act when we decide. At the same time as the offensive effort, we allow the introduction of humanitarian aid into the Strip. The interest of Hamas is to present a humanitarian crisis in Gaza, to press for an end to the war," Halevi said.


He said Hamas is trying to take control of humanitarian aid and prevent its distribution in order to regain and control the Gaza Strip, but "this should not happen".

"Therefore, we continue to dismantle Hamas from its military and governmental capabilities, to bring stability to the region," Halevi added.

He also stated that Israel will do everything to bring all hostages back as soon as possible.

Reference: Hamas attacked Israel six months ago, on 7 October 2023. 

On 7 April, the IDF announced that it had finished the active phase of the invasion but left open the possibility of a new invasion in the future in southern Gaza. 

The Jerusalem Post reported that the IDF withdrew the entire 98th Division from the city of Khan Yunis in southern Gaza, leaving only one Israeli army brigade there to secure the corridor connecting south Israel with the Gaza Strip coastline.

This corridor is reported to allow the IDF to conduct raids in Gaza's northern and central parts, prevent the return of Palestinians to the northern part and allow humanitarian organisations to deliver aid directly to Gaza's northern part. 

At one point, the IDF had five divisions with 30,000-40,000 servicemen deep inside Gaza and even larger forces surrounding the sector. These forces were significantly reduced in mid-January when the IDF announced that it had achieved operational control over Gaza's northern part and released the 63rd Division to come back to standard duties on the north border, where Israel confronts Hezbollah.

The Jerusalem Post reported that the 98th Division has been destroying Hamas forces in Khan Yunis and its outskirts, commanding around seven brigades, from December until now. 

It was reported that the 98th Division completed the bulk of its mission in early February but continued to conduct smaller operations in areas like the Hamed neighbourhood in Khan Yunis. 

Israeli officials believed that the main reason for keeping the 98th Division in Khan Yunis was to get concessions from Hamas in negotiations for a prisoner swap.

Hamas immediately stated that the IDF forces' withdrawal, even if partial, was a victory, as they demanded the withdrawal of Israeli troops, including those from Gaza's northern part. 

The Jerusalem Post noted that now the world's attention is likely to focus on whether the IDF will capture Rafah first, whether Hamas will negotiate a deal for hostage release to avoid such an invasion, or if Israel will make further concessions to Hamas demands regarding the return of more Palestinians to Gaza's northern part.

Support UP or become our patron!