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Israeli soldiers begin pulling out of Gaza as main objective of destroying tunnels is complete

By Mason White 4:57 PM August 3, 2014
Israeli soldier takes position inside Gaza home 

By: Aryeh Savir
The Israeli military announced that it has completed its main objective of finding and destroying terror tunnels in Gaza, the Tazpit News Agency reported.

The IDF has begun to partially withdraw its troops from parts of the Gaza Strip.

Having completed their specific missions, the forces are coming out of unnecessary areas.

Over the past 24 hours, the IDF struck 153 terror targets in the Gaza Strip, including tunnels, weapon manufacturing and storage facilities, and command and control centers.

Among the targets was a Hamas military wing facility that was used for research and development of weapon manufacturing located within the Islamic University. They were reportedly researching chemical weapons options. In addition, weapon caches and Hamas command and training facilities concealed within five mosques were targeted.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, said last night at a press conference that the IDF will continue its military campaign against Hamas in the Gaza Strip, for as long as needed and with as much force as necessary.

“From the beginning, we promised to return the quiet to Israel’s citizens, and we will continue to act until that aim is achieved. We will take as much time as necessary, and will exert as much force as needed,” Netanyahu said.

He further stressed that the IDF’s redeployment did not indicate an end to Operation Protective Edge and that the IDF would continue to operate “only on the basis of security considerations.” “I can’t tell you how it’s going to develop,” he said. “We are keeping all options for action open.”

Last night, a special committee led by the IDF Chief Rabbi, announced the death of Lt. Hadar Goldin, 23, an infantry officer in the Givati Brigade, who was killed in battle in the Gaza Strip on Friday.

Medical, religious and other relevant factors were considered before making the official announcement. Lt. Goldin’s family was notified by Head of the IDF Personnel Directorate Maj. Gen. Orna Barbivai and Chief Military Rabbi Brig. Gen. Rafi Peretz.

Minister of Defense Ya’alon visited the family as well. “Prior to the decision, all medical considerations and religious observances, as well as additional relevant issues were taken into consideration,” the IDF statement read. As Goldin’s group was attacked, two other soldiers, Benaya Sarel and Liel Gidoni, were killed.

At the announcement, many of the hundreds rallying outside the Goldin home in a show of support for the family burst into tears on hearing the news.

Over the past 24 hours 86 rockets were fired at Israel, 58 rockets hit Israel and 6 were intercepted by the Iron Dome systems.

Hamas has fired 3,127 rockets towards Israel since the beginning of Operation Protective Edge.