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Israeli troops withdraw to areas around Gaza border

JERUSALEM (JTA) — The Israel Defense Forces reportedly has withdrawn most of its troops from the Gaza Strip to areas around the border.

Despite the withdrawals on Sunday, there has been no order to end the Gaza operation, according to the Israeli media. The operation is in its 27th day.

“As operation Protective Edge moves to the next stage, we are redeploying to enable combat against Hamas & continued defense from tunnels,” the IDF spokesman said in a Twitter post.

IDF strikes on Gaza reportedly have decreased in frequency. Rafah reportedly is the only area where IDF forces are continuing to operate as they work to destroy a tunnel, according to Ynet.

Rockets fired from Gaza continued to strike southern Israel on Sunday, however.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in a nationally televised news conference on Saturday night did not set a time for the end of Protective Edge.

“Every option is on the table to ensure long-term quiet to the residents of Israel,” he said. “I won’t say when we’ll finish and where we’ll go. We have no obligation outside of our security concerns.”

Israel also was scheduled to open Gaza crossings Sunday to allow 200 trucks of humanitarian aid, including medicines and medical equipment, into the area.

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