Withdrawal of some Israeli troops appears to be start of next phase of war, US official says

Withdrawal of some Israeli troops appears to be start of next phase of war, US official says
# 02 January 2024 09:19 (UTC +04:00)

Israel's announcement that it is starting to draw down its number of troops in Gaza shows signs of the country's gradual shift to a lower-intensity phase of its war, a senior United States official said Monday, APA reports citing CNN.

The Israel Defense Forces said earlier Monday it was beginning to reduce the number of soldiers on the ground in Gaza as it prepares for prolonged fighting throughout 2024.

The US has been pressing Israeli officials to begin the more surgical phase of fighting as the Israeli military continues to target Hamas.

The official said the move reflected the success IDF forces have had in northern Gaza in dismantling Hamas' military capabilities.

Still, the official cautioned there was still fighting ongoing in the north and that it did not appear to reflect any changes in the south of Gaza.

US officials are viewing the next few weeks as a critical period that will demonstrate Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s willingness to move to a lower-intensity phase of going after Hamas in Gaza.

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