Israel withdraws some forces, shifts gears in Gaza

Israel withdraws some forces, shifts gears in Gaza

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Israel withdrew tanks from parts of Gaza City on Monday, part of a previously announced plan to respond to changing military needs in Gaza, and to safeguard the Israeli economy.

The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) are expected to continue operations in Gaza for months, focusing on “mopping up” Hamas militants, rather than a full-scale invasion, reported Reuters.

The Hamas attack on Oct. 7 detonated the months-long war between Israel and the terrorist group, resulting in an Israeli invasion, a 20,000-plus death toll and a humanitarian crisis for the rest of the territory’s population.

The scale of the destruction in Gaza has set off U.S.-based pushback against Israel and its supporters — often laced with or grounded in antisemitism — that’s highlighted political rifts among Democrats.

Israel itself entered the war deeply divided, amid corruption allegations against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and a slate of judicial reforms proposed by Netanyahu that proponents labeled a threat to democracy.

A key piece of that reform package was struck down by the Israeli Supreme Court on Monday, turning attention at least momentarily back to the country’s deeply divided politics.

The partial withdrawal also comes as Israel’s economy has taken a hit, at one point losing 300,000 civilian workers who were reservists activated to fight in Gaza.

There are currently around 200,000 reservists still reporting absent from their civilian roles, according to several reports.

And the withdrawal coincides with the return home of the USS Gerald R. Ford carrier group, after the U.S. Navy’s newest and largest carrier was deployed to the eastern Mediterranean as war between Israel and Hamas intensified.

The reduced intensity is a sign that some IDF objectives against Hamas have been met, though Netanyahu’s government has repeatedly said it will not stop short of a full destruction of the terrorist group, which has governed Gaza since 2007.

The scale-down also allows Israel to potentially deploy more troops to its northern border, where Lebanon-based terrorist group Hezbollah and the IDF have regularly exchanged artillery fire since the war in Gaza began.

In Gaza, where civilian infrastructure has in many places been reduced to rubble, the violence is expected to continue, with the IDF on its mission to destroy Hamas, and militants running guerilla-style operations against the IDF.

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