Weeks after Israel launched a ground invasion of Gaza, the country's military announced it would pull some troops from the territory.
The withdrawal includes five brigades which reportedly consist of thousands of soldiers.
Israel said numerous factors contributed to the decision to pull the troops from Gaza.
“This move is expected to significantly alleviate economic burdens and enable them to gather strength for upcoming activities in the next year,” Israel Defense Forces spokesperson Daniel Hagari said, according to the New York Times.
Hagari emphasized that this move does not change Israel's mission to eliminate Hamas. He said the military is planning to carry out operations for the entirety of 2024.
The invasion of Gaza followed Hamas' Oct. 7 surprise attack in Israel. Approximately 1,200 Israelis were reportedly killed in the attack and more than 200 others were taken hostage. Some of those hostages were returned during a brief cease-fire in November.
The Gaza Health Ministry, which is run by Hamas, says more than 20,000 Palestinians have been killed since Israel began bombing Gaza in response to the Oct. 7 attack.
Israel has faced criticism amid a high civilian death toll. However, it blames Hamas, saying it uses citizens as shields. It's produced various videos that show a web of tunnels that run underground. Israel claims the tunnels have been used as command posts for Hamas.
The bombing has led to a humanitarian crisis in Gaza. The United Nations reports that about half of Gaza's 2.2 million population is at risk of starvation.
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