IDF withdraws majority of ground forces from Gaza

Soldier injured by sniper fire; IAF strikes only 15 targets since midnight, as military sets 'temporary security strip' around Gaza.

The IDF has withdrawn the majority of its ground forces back to staging areas outside Gaza on Sunday, with the IAF striking only 15 targets in the Strip since midnight after a relative decline in the number of rocket launches on Israel – yet the residents of the south remain under attack.



Two incidents occurred around noon – an attack in the southern Strip and firefights in the north. In one of the incidents a soldier was moderately wounded by Palestinian sniper fire. He was evacuated to Sheba Medical Center in Tel HaShomer for treatment.


The withdrawal of the majority of the IDF's ground forces has allowed divisions to rest soldiers on the line and allow a significant part of the troops to return home for a brief respite from the fighting.


IDF strikes on Gaza have decreased in frequency, aside from intermittent artillery fire on suspicious areas in the northern Strip.


The only active area of operations left is in Rafah, where IDF forces are operating to destroy the last known terror tunnel with the help of the Air Force. The military began withdrawing its forces on Saturday and began preparing a "temporary security strip."


"What we are doing in the field right now is based on the lack of an agreement; it is possible an understanding will not be reached," said a senior military source. "There are other options on the table."


At the same time, Israel will allow the entry into Gaza of large amounts of products, humanitarian goods, medicine, and medical supplies. 


Elior Levy and Reuters contributed to this report.


פרסום ראשון: 08.03.14, 12:56
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