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By The Smartencyclopedia Staff & Agencies 

The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) announced on Sunday that it has withdrawn all of its troops from southern Gaza, marking the end of intense clashes against Hamas militants in the city of Khan Younis.

In a statement issued to media outlets, the IDF confirmed the withdrawal of its 98th Commando Division from Gaza after the completion of its mission in Khan Younis. The division is now set to regroup and prepare for potential future operations, leaving only two Israeli divisions, the Nahal Brigade and the 162nd Division, stationed in other parts of the Gaza Strip.

Describing the remaining troops as a significant force, the IDF emphasized their role in maintaining freedom of action and conducting precise intelligence-based operations in the region.

The troop withdrawal follows reports of fierce fighting between IDF commando teams and Hamas elements in Khan Younis over the weekend. The IDF conducted building-to-building raids in search of weapons and alleged terrorist infrastructure, uncovering a 900-meter tunnel route containing living quarters and numerous weapons. Tragically, four Israeli soldiers lost their lives during the operation.

International pressure on Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to broker a humanitarian ceasefire intensified following the deaths of seven humanitarian workers in an IDF airstrike last week. Gaza’s Ministry of Health reported staggering casualties, with over 33,000 people killed and 75,000 injured, while 75% of the population has been forcibly displaced since the start of the six-month-old conflict.

Netanyahu’s plans to launch a ground offensive against Hamas in Rafah’s refugee haven drew condemnation from the international community. The Swiss delegate to the United Nations Security Council warned of catastrophic humanitarian consequences, urging an immediate ceasefire to prevent further civilian casualties.

Ceasefire talks, brokered by Egypt and involving U.S. Central Intelligence Director Bill Burns, Egyptian President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi, and Qatari Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani, were scheduled to resume late Sunday. Israel confirmed its participation in the negotiations, with Hamas also sending a delegation.

Despite the troop withdrawal from southern Gaza, Netanyahu reaffirmed Israel’s commitment to achieving “total victory” over Hamas, declaring the war ongoing and vowing to eliminate Hamas’ presence in the entire Gaza Strip, including Rafah, to ensure Israel’s security.

The situation remains fluid as both sides navigate the delicate path toward a lasting ceasefire and seek to address the humanitarian crisis unfolding in Gaza.

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