Israeli Troops Withdraw from Southern Gaza

( – Israeli authorities announced the withdrawal of some troops from Khan Younis on Sunday, April 7th, and said that the new focus in Gaza would be further north in the city of Rafah.

Some troops will remain behind in the southern city of Khan Younis, the hometown of Hamas’ leader Yehya Sinwar, to carry out more targeted operations. Gazans who had previously evacuated the city are beginning to return. However, much of the city has been damaged or destroyed by the conflict, leaving residents uncertain as to how to proceed.

Military officials emphasized that while Israeli presence in Khan Younis will be at its lowest since the beginning of the war that followed the October 7th, 2023, massacre by Hamas, the move does not represent the end of the war or the diminishment of Israeli efforts. Israel remains firm in its target to obliterate Hamas, the terrorist organization and governing body of Gaza, which has vowed to repeat the atrocities of October 7th in which they slaughtered 1200 people, mostly civilians, and kidnapped a further 250.

The Israeli Defense Force (IDF) described the partial withdrawal as an opportunity for troops to be rested before being redeployed for future operations and said that its 98th division had finished its mission in Khan Younis. The IDF and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu have stressed that the withdrawal is mainly to allow for increased military action in the northern region of Gaza, including the city of Rafah, currently home to 1.4 million people, a figure which includes evacuees from other areas of Gaza.

However, some commentators have speculated that the move may be part of an attempt to secure a deal to release the remaining 130 hostages still held by Hamas and allied terrorists, a quarter of whom are believed to be dead, according to Israeli authorities. Others have observed that by freeing up troops from the south of Gaza, the IDF will be able to shore up Israel’s northern borders in the face of Iranian-backed Hezbollah’s aggression.

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