The Israeli military announced it will begin withdrawing several thousand troops from Gaza at least temporarily, in what would be the most significant publicly announced pullback since the war began.
The military cited a growing toll on the Israeli economy following nearly three months of wartime mobilization with little end in sight to the fighting. But the withdrawals also come as the military considers scaling back its operations in a new phase of fighting; the United States has been prodding Israel to begin scaling back more quickly as the death toll in Gaza continues to rise, with more than 20,000 killed, according to local health authorities.
Daniel Hagari, the Israeli military spokesman, emphasized that the move to demobilize some soldiers did not indicate any compromise on Israel’s intention to continue fighting, and he did not mention the American requests to scale back. He indicated that some will be called back to service in the coming year. Still, the fighting remains intense across Gaza.
Reservists from at least two brigades will be sent home this week, the Israeli military said in a statement, and three brigades will be taken back for training.
“This move is expected to significantly alleviate economic burdens and enable them to gather strength for upcoming activities in the next year,” the Israeli military said.
Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken is expected to return to Israel in early January for further talks on the war, according to U.S. officials, after having met with a top Netanyahu aide in Washington last week alongside Jake Sullivan, the national security adviser. The three discussed pivoting to a different phase of the war to “maximize focus on high-value Hamas targets,” a White House official said.
Thank you for your patience while we verify access. If you are in Reader mode please exit and log into your Times account, or subscribe for all of The Times.
Thank you for your patience while we verify access.
Already a subscriber? Log in.
Want all of The Times? Subscribe.