Israel withdraws some troops from Gaza

Some Israeli ground forces withdrew from the Gaza Strip on Saturday, two Israeli television stations reported, after the military said it was close to achieving its goal of destroying Hamas cross-border tunnels.

Israel withdraws some troops from Gaza

World Bulletin/News Desk

Some Israeli army units have started pulling hundreds of meters out of the Gaza Strip, Israeli sources said late on Saturday.

Commander of the Golani Brigade, Ghassan Alian, said on his Twitter account that his brigade had already completed its mission in the northern part of the Gaza Strip after three weeks of work.

Alian's force has carried out most of the operations in the Gaza Strip since the beginning of the Israeli war on Gaza on July 7.

He said the main mission of his brigade was to demolish what he described as the terror infrastructure of Gaza, particularly the strip's tunnels.

He said his troops had also killed scores of what he described as "terrorists.

The Israeli newspaper Haaretz, meanwhile, quoted some unnamed Israeli sources as saying that Israeli troops had started to pull hundreds of meters out of the Gaza Strip.

The newspaper added that some troops were redeployed inside Israel.

Other sources said, however, that the Israeli army is still working on the demolition of the tunnels inside Gaza.

An Israeli army spokesman said earlier in the day that the army had asked northern Gaza residents to return to their homes.

Avichay Adraee, however, warned these residents that the Gaza-based Palestinian resistance movement Hamas might have planted explosives in these homes.

He added that the residents of the northern Gaza town of Beit Hanoun would not be allowed to return home yet.

Israeli military sources are saying that the army would announce within 24 hours its success in demolishing all of Gaza's tunnels, according to Haaretz.

The sources added that the Israeli army had destroyed a number of tunnels in the past two days and that it would destroy more tunnels in the next hours.

Gaza's death toll jumps to 1708

Seventy-eight Palestinians were killed on Saturday by Israeli aerial strikes and artillery shelling in different parts of the Gaza Strip, the Palestinian Health Ministry said.

"This brings the number of Palestinians killed by Israel since the beginning of the Israeli war on the Gaza Strip on July 7 to 1708," Health Ministry spokesman Ashraf al-Qodra told Anadolu Agency.

"Around 9000 Palestinians were also injured by Israeli attacks since the beginning of the war too," al-Qodra added.

He said this toll does not include tens of bodies that were recovered from the eastern part of the southern Gaza Strip City of Rafah.

He said rescue teams are now pulling the bodies of some of the victims from the southern parts of the Gaza Strip, which may raise Gaza's total death toll in the next hours.

A 72-hour humanitarian ceasefire that started at 8:00am (0500 GMT) on Friday fell apart a short time later when Israel resumed its strikes against Rafah city.

Israel said it did not abide by the ceasefire after one of its army units was attacked in the southern part of Gaza, accusing Hamas of violating the ceasefire.

The Israeli army said later that one of its troops was abducted, while two of his colleagues were killed.

The truce was mediated by United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and United States Secretary of States John Kerry. Israel and the Palestinians should have sent negotiators to discuss a durable ceasefire in the Egyptian capital Cairo.

Israel's attacks were, however, considered by the Palestinian resistance movement Hamas as an attempt by Israel to mislead the world and justify its killing of Palestinian civilians.

The movement did not either deny or confirm the abduction of the Israeli soldier.


Güncelleme Tarihi: 02 Ağustos 2014, 23:14