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Israel Did Not Announce Its Complete Withdrawal From Gaza Yet

Wesam Abo Marq Wesam Abo Marq
10th April 2024
Israel Did Not Announce Its Complete Withdrawal From Gaza Yet
Israel has only reduced troops in South Gaza (Getty)

The Claim

Israel  Announced Its Complete Withdrawal From Gaza.

Emerging story

Amid the Israel-Gaza war, social media users alleged that Israel announced a complete withdrawal from Gaza. This followed reports suggesting that Iran conveyed to the United States, via Oman, its intention to directly confront Israel unless the U.S. secures an immediate and lasting truce in Gaza, with assurances of no Israeli ground action in Rafah. 

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Misbar’s Analysis

Misbar investigated the viral claim and found it to be misleading.

Israel did not announce a complete withdrawal from Gaza. Nevertheless, Israel has announced a reduction in its military forces, indicating preparations for a future operation in Rafah.

Israel Reduced Troops in South Gaza

According to Reuters, Israel stated on Sunday that it had withdrawn more troops from southern Gaza, leaving only one brigade. This move coincided with both Israel and Hamas sending delegations to Egypt for new discussions on a potential ceasefire in the ongoing six-month conflict. 

Israel has been steadily reducing its presence in Gaza since the beginning of the year to relieve reservists. Moreover, it faces increasing pressure from its ally, Washington, to address the humanitarian situation in the region.

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A screenshot of the Reuters’ article.

CNN further reported that the Israeli military has announced the withdrawal of its ground forces from Khan Younis in southern Gaza, following intense clashes that inflicted significant damage on the city. On Sunday, the Israel occupation forces confirmed that its 98th division had completed its mission in Khan Younis and was exiting the Gaza Strip to rest and ready itself for future operations.

While the 98th division departs, the IOF clarified that a substantial force, led by the 162nd division and the Nahal brigade, remains active in the Gaza Strip. 

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A screenshot of the CNN’s article.

Israel: Troops ‘Incursion into Rafah Is Essential’

Israel emphasizes the necessity of an incursion into Rafah to achieve its claimed objective of eliminating Hamas from Gaza. The withdrawal raises questions about Israel's intentions regarding a potential invasion of Rafah, which has become a refuge for hundreds of thousands of Palestinians. Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant stated that troops are departing Gaza to prepare for upcoming operations, including those in the Rafah region.

During a visit to the military's Southern Command, Gallant highlighted the troops' readiness for subsequent missions, citing previous examples in Shifa and anticipating future actions in Rafah. Meanwhile, Israel's far-right Minister of National Security, Itamar Ben Gvir, cautioned that if the prime minister opts to conclude the conflict without launching a substantial offensive on Rafah to defeat Hamas, his mandate as prime minister may be at risk.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also asserted on Tuesday that nothing would deter Israeli forces from entering Rafah in southern Gaza.

Israel Imposes Starvation as a Weapon of War in Gaza

Since October 7, the Israeli military has killed more than 33,360 individuals and injured over 75,993. According to Human Rights Watch (HRW), children in Gaza are succumbing to "starvation-related complications" as Israel employs starvation as a weapon of war, deemed a war crime. 

Dr. Hussam Abu Safiya, head of the pediatrics unit at Kamal Adwan Hospital in northern Gaza, informed HRW that 26 children died from starvation-related issues at his hospital alone. Among them, at least 16 were under 5 months old, and at least 10 were between 1 and 8 years old.

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