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IDF Withdraws Bulk of Forces from Gaza but Says Operation Will Continue

April 8, 2024 (EIRNS)—The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) announced it has withdrawn the majority of its troops from Gaza, primarily from Khan Younis, reducing numbers that had reached as high as 40,000 to a few hundred. Israeli officials are saying, however, that the war is far from over. In a statement issued right before an April 7 government cabinet meeting, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu clarified Israel’s prosecution of the war on Gaza: “We are determined to finish it with complete victory.”

Netanyahu claimed Israel was “one step away from victory.… We eliminated 19 out of 24 of the Hamas battalions, including their senior commanders. We killed, wounded or captured a significant number of Hamas terrorists.... We destroyed their factories manufacturing rockets, weapons, and ammunition.” He insisted that Israel needs to continue fighting until all Hamas militants are eliminated. “There is no war more just than this war, and we are determined to finish it with complete victory. To return all those who were abducted, complete the elimination of Hamas in the entire Gaza Strip, including Rafah, and ensure that Gaza will no longer pose a threat to Israel,” he stated.

IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Herzi Halevi similarly said on April 7 that, despite the withdrawal of all of the army’s maneuvering ground forces, the war against Hamas is far from over, Times of Israel reported. He said that the IDF will be able to resume activity if there were a temporary ceasefire as part of a hostage deal, and that bringing the hostages back home is a more urgent matter than other goals.

“We are fighting this war differently; it is different from its predecessors,” Halevi said in a statement to the press, marking six months since Hamas’s October 7 attacks. “The war in Gaza continues, and we are far from stopping. Senior Hamas officials are still in hiding. We will get to them sooner or later. We are making progress, continuing to kill more terrorists and commanders and destroy more terror infrastructures, including last night,” he stated. He claimed “Hamas is trying to take control of the humanitarian aid and prevent its distribution, in order to resume control of the Gaza Strip. This should not happen.”

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