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Israel announces partial withdrawal of its forces from the Gaza Strip

In Tel Aviv.

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Israel announces partial withdrawal of its forces from the Gaza Strip

In Tel Aviv

Only a few hundred soldiers now remain on the ground in the Gaza Strip, whereas at the height of the operations their numbers had risen to 30,000 to 40,000 men. The only unit still there is deployed along a “corridor” that cuts the Gaza Strip in two from east to west, in order to prevent hundreds of thousands of Palestinians who have fled the north of the enclave from start of the war to return home. The redeployment of forces does not explicitly imply that the government of Benjamin Netanyahu has given up launching a full-blown attack in Rafah, in the south. “We are one step away from victory,” the prime minister declared on Sunday, before specifying: “There will be no ceasefire without the return of the hostages.”

The United States and Europeans have increased warnings in recent weeks against a large-scale operation in Rafah, raising the specter of a humanitarian catastrophe in an area where more than 1 million Palestinians have taken refuge in poor conditions. most precarious.

In this regard, Israeli military officials insisted that the withdrawal of troops from southern Gaza was in no way linked to pressure exerted by Joe Biden last week during an interview presented as very tense with Benjamin Netanyahu. . For its part, Hamas reacted to the Israeli announcement by firing five rockets from Khan Younes towards the south of Israel, which caused neither damage nor casualties.

On another front, the situation threatens to degenerate at any moment. An Iranian official said Sunday that Israeli embassies are legitimate targets following the elimination in Damascus of General Mohammad Reza Zahedi, a senior member of the Revolutionary Guards, as well as several other senior officers. The threat is taken very seriously. Israeli representations around the world have been placed on heightened alert, with diplomats urged to watch their backs.

Yoav Gallant, the Minister of Defense, tried to calm the population following reports, notably from the United States, according to which Iran could launch long-range drones or cruise missiles directly from from its territory, towards Israel, without charging its allies, such as the Lebanese Hezbollah, with this type of attack. “We have accelerated preparations to be ready to react to any scenario facing Iran,” assured the minister. Last week, the army scrambled access to the GPS system used for applications intended to guide motorists. Objective: to mislead the guidance of possible Iranian missiles. The IDF also recalled reservists serving in air defense.

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