Israeli ground forces pulled back after five days of fighting Hamas in the north Gaza Strip.
Troops and tanks withdrew from the outskirts of Gaza City to the Israeli border early Monday, prompting thousands of Palestinians to emerge from hiding places, inspect damage and search for casualties.
Israeli ground forces and airstrikes killed approximately 110 Palestinians in an offensive launched after a Hamas rocket salvo killed a 47-year-old father of four in Sderot last week. Two soldiers also died in the fighting.
Israeli Deputy Prime Minister Haim Ramon predicted that more operations would be required.
“The main objective of the Israeli government and of the armed forces is to stop the shelling of civilian targets in the south of the country,” he told Army Radio.
“There were dozens of fatalities among the Hamas terrorists, and this is certainly deterrence. This operation ran its course. Unfortunately, I think more such actions may be needed.”
Hamas greeted Israel’s withdrawal as a “victory” for Palestinians. On Monday morning, Palestinian terrorists in Gaza launched two rockets at Sderot, but there were no casualties or damage.