Dozens of Israeli troops have been seen leaving urban areas in Gaza, with local media reporting that nearly all ground forces have have left.
But officially this is still being termed as a redeployment rather than withdrawal, with senior military figures reasserting Israel’s operational commitments
Lt Col Peter Lerner, an Israeli spokesperson, noted: “We’re maintaining our operational capabilities to be able to strike Hamas and carry out our intentional activities against the tunnels that are still a threat. We will be completing our activities against the tunnels, hopefully quite soon, and indeed this is an ongoing mission.”
On Saturday Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stressed that forces may remain in Gaza after all Hamas tunnels have been found.
Tel Aviv maintains that it still on the receiving end of Hamas fire, with at least 13 rockets said to have been launched at its territory on Sunday (August 3).
Earlier the Israeli military confirmed that an officer who went missing on Friday, feared captured, had in fact been killed in fighting. The soldier was a relation of the country’s defence minister.