Israeli Military Withdraws Bulk of Troops From Gaza

Some forces remain in the Strip to destroy a tunnel and protect communities on the Israeli side of the border.

Gili Cohen
Gili Cohen
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Israeli soldiers gather at a staging area after returning from Gaza, August 3, 2014.
Israeli soldiers gather at a staging area after returning from Gaza, August 3, 2014.Credit: Reuters
Gili Cohen
Gili Cohen

The Israel Defense Forces has withdrawn most of its troops from Gaza's battle zones on Sunday, although no official order has been issued to end Operation Protective Edge.

The military's Southern Command is concerned over possible sniper attacks on soldiers near the enclave's border.

Israeli forces that remain in Gaza are working on destroying one more tunnel near Rafah. Other units are operating in Beit Hanun. The IDF has decided to keep some forces within Gaza to protect Israeli communities near the border.

A senior officer said on Sunday morning that a security zone within the enclave "should be maintained for defense purposes, and we are prepared to attack as well."

The units that have withdrawn from the Strip remain near the border.

Military officials say that IDF reservists have yet to be released in a sweeping manner, although some have been sent home for periods of rest. The military continues to define the area near Gaza's border, east of Route 232, as a closed military zone. No order has been issued with regard to the operation's completion, the officials said.

An IDF soldier was moderately wounded by sniper fire in Beit Hanun. An hour later, Givati troops were fired upon in the Rafah region. An Armored Corps unit returned fire but the gunman escaped in a getaway car. An Israeli aircraft then struck the vehicle. A direct hit was identified, the military said.

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