Israel Completes Full Withdrawal from Gaza Strip
As of Tuesday, Israel has now withdrawn all of its troops from Gaza into “defensive positions” situated on the border of the Strip.
Israel announced at 8:00 a.m. local time that it was adhering to a self-declared 72-hour ceasefire, pulling its troops outside of Gaza.
Israel Defense Forces spokesperson Peter Lerner said, “The Israel Defense Forces will be re-deployed in defensive positions outside the Gaza Strip and we will maintain those defensive positions.”
The IDF announced Tuesday that it had targeted and neutralized at least 900 Hamas terrorists over the course of the war. Israel has lost 64 troops and three civilian over the month-long Operation Protective Edge. Some suspect more enemy combatants may have been within the ranks of the civilians killed in Gaza, as jihadi fighters frequently don’t don military apparel, instead trying to blend in with the civilian population to fight asymmetrically.
Israel’s Southern Command chief said of the continuing operation, “Operation Protective Edge isn’t over; the troops are ready and prepared on the border of the strip. If Hamas violates the ceasefire later on, it will make a grave error.” The IDF “dealt a Heavy blow to Hamas” and “harmed Hamas’s rocket firing capability,” he said. “We’ve demonstrated the ability to destroy tunnels and will be able to do so in the future.”
Israel announced the launch of Operation Protective Edge on July 8th, hoping to stop indiscriminate jihadi rocket attacks against Israel. They also wanted to cripple and destroy Hamas’s tunnel infrastructure. During the course of the operation, Israel eliminated 32 tunnels, created on the backs of child labor and built to commence terror attacks upon Israel.
According to IDF statistics on the success of Hamas rocket fire, more rocket salvos landed in Gaza than in Israeli population centers, largely due to the success of the Iron Dome missile defense system. The IDF said that 119 jihadi-fired rockets landed inside Gaza, while 116 hit highly populated areas within Israel.