IDF troops complete Gaza withdrawal

Soldiers deploy along border to provide response in case of Palestinian violations of cease-fire.

By
January 21, 2009 08:55
1 minute read.
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The IDF on Wednesday morning completed its pullout from Gaza as the last troops left the Strip. Soldiers deployed along the border in order to provide a quick response should the need arise. Violence marred the cease-fire in the Gaza Strip on Tuesday as Hamas gunmen fired mortar shells into Israel and opened fire on IDF troops who remained inside the Palestinian territory. In the afternoon, IAF aircraft bombed a mortar launcher in the Gaza Strip that had been used hours earlier to fire some eight mortar shells into the Negev. It was the first air strike against Gaza since Israel unilaterally implemented a cease-fire there on Sunday. Earlier in the day, Gaza gunmen fired at IDF patrols in two separate incidents that marked the first violations of the cease-fire Hamas accepted on Sunday after the IDF began withdrawing its forces from Gaza. No one was wounded and no damage was reported in either of the two incidents, which took place near the Kissufim border crossing in central Gaza, and in southern Gaza. IDF troops returned fire following one of the attacks. Defense officials further accused Hamas of stealing some of the humanitarian supplies that had been transferred into the Gaza Strip. The officials said the Hamas leadership had issued orders already on Monday to attack IDF troops who remained in the Gaza Strip. According to the officials, Hamas likely chose to fire mortars and not rockets, since it predicted that Israel would have a harsher response to a rocket attack on a town or city. They would not say whether Israel was planning a response in addition to the air strike against the launcher. "We will not tolerate attacks and will not be restrained like we used to be," explained one official.

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