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Day 102: IDF pulls entire division out of central Gaza, continues attack in south

Chief of Staff warns achievements may erode without a ‘Day After’ strategy

Israeli forces in Gaza (Photo: IDF)

Israel Defense Forces announced on Monday that its 36th Division would be withdrawn from the Gaza Strip, in the latest indication that the current phase of intense warfare is drawing to a close after almost three months.

IDF Spokesman Brig.-Gen. Daniel Hagari that he would discontinue his daily press briefings and instead make public announcements every 2-3 days.

The IDF’s 36th Division was operating in the central part of the Gaza Strip, where the mission of conquering the four camps of Nuseirat, al-Bureij, al-Maghazi and al-Zuwayda was almost completed.

The division soldiers will now be given a short break to return home and then begin an additional training period before its next deployment, to be decided, the IDF stated. The division includes the Golani Brigade, one of the country’s most beloved units, comprising a broad cross-section of society.

In a short speech, Brigade Commander Col. Yair Palai reminded his soldiers of its heroic battles on Oct.7, when it was stationed on the Gaza border.

“The brigade's fighters defended the settlements and outposts with their bodies in heroic battles, fighters - be proud of yourselves! Golani in the battles in the Gaza Envelope does not fall short of the Golani [Brigade during the legendary battles] of Tel Faher, Beaufort and Hermon,” Palai said.

Israeli forces in Gaza (Photo: IDF)

“Fighters of the People’s Brigade - we are responsible for Israeli unity,” Palai said, vowing: “We will bring the cohesion of the front to the [civilian] rear.”

In comments made shortly after the withdrawal of the 36th Division was announced, IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Herzi Halevi warned that the political echelon’s lack of strategic vision for the Gaza Strip after the war could endanger the army’s achievements.

“We are facing the erosion of the achievements we have reached so far in the war because no strategy has been built for the day after. We may have to go back and operate in areas where we have already finished fighting,” said Halevi, during discussions held behind closed doors, according to a local Channel 13 news report on Monday.

Three IDF divisions are currently operating in the Gaza Strip. The 162nd Division continues its searches in northern Gaza to root out the last remaining terrorists and to dismantle Hamas’ infrastructure completely.

The 99th Division will continue operating in central Gaza, battling in the area of the four camps while managing the corridor that dissects the Strip into two parts. Finally, the 98th Division will continue fighting intense battles in the Khan Younis area of southern Gaza with large forces.

In northern Gaza, the Israeli army stated that soldiers of the 401st Brigade battlegroup located about 100 rocket installations and about 60 rockets ready to launch in the area of Beit Lahia. They eliminated dozens of terrorists during the battles there.

North of the Al-Shati refugee camp, fighters of the 5th Brigade directed an aircraft and a combat helicopter to eliminate nine terrorists.

In the central Strip, soldiers of the 646th Brigade located a compound for the production of mortar bombs, a factory for the production of rockets, and several weapons inside a building of a humanitarian organization in the area of the Nuseirat camp.

They also found and arrested eight Hamas terrorists hiding in school following intelligence reports, and located a weapons warehouse with large amounts of ammunition near the school.

In the southern town of Khan Younis, the 7th Brigade battlegroup has directed several aircraft to eliminate terrorists identified near them.

On Monday, Israeli troops identified two terrorists loading weapons on a truck while preparing a supply run for Hamas fighters in the area. The 98th Division’s Fire Command Unit directed an aircraft to attack the truck, destroying the weapons and killing the terrorists.

The 7th Brigade also raided the operational headquarters of Hamas near the city and confiscated Kalashnikov rifles, pistols, grenades, RPG missiles and diving equipment belonging to Hamas' naval forces.

The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.

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