IDF troops leaving Gaza: 'Mission Accomplished'
The IDF is using a 72 hour truce engineered by Egypt to withdraw it's forces from Gaza.
"Mission accomplished," the Israel Defense Forces tweeted.. "We have dismantled the underground terror network built by Hamas to infiltrate and attack Israel."
More than 1,800 Palestinians have been killed in Gaza during the conflict, according to the Palestinian Health Ministry. It's unclear how many were militants. The United Nations estimates that around 70% were civilians. Israeli officials have questioned the U.N. figures.
Israeli officials have said 64 Israeli soldiers and three civilians in Israel have died.
"We have no forces within Gaza," IDF spokesman Lt. Col. Peter Lerner told CNN Tuesday.
Israel is implementing the Egyptian-brokered truce, which took effect Tuesday morning, while maintaining "defensive positions" outside Gaza, the IDF said.
About 20 rockets were fired from Gaza toward Israel minutes before the cease-fire went into effect Tuesday at 8 a.m. (1 a.m. ET) , an IDF spokesman said. Six were intercepted by Israel's Iron Dome defense system and at least one was reported to have hit a Palestinian town in the West Bank without causing any injuries.
Hamas' military wing, the Al-Qassam Brigades, said it launched "a barrage of rockets" at Israeli cities as a response to "Israeli crimes."
The official Palestinian news agency WAFA reported that several Israeli strikes took place across Gaza before the beginning of the cease-fire. A CNN team witnessed one strike on a southern area of Gaza City and heard several others.
Officials from the United Nations and United States, who have been pushing for a cease-fire for weeks, hope that the three-day pause will allow negotiations to take place for a more lasting peace.
Is it over? Probably not. As long as Hamas is firing rockets into Israel, the air force will strike back. Also, while the tactical goals of the operation have been met, Prime Minister Netanyahu has indicated he wants a demilitarized Gaza so that the terrorists cannot launch rockets at will trying to kill Israeli civilians.
The tunnels may be gone but the desire of Hamas to kill Israelis remains. Netanyahu doesn't want to have to go back into Gaza again to protect his people. Whether this is achieved by demilitarization, or a partial reoccupation of Gaza so that the terrorist's short range rockets cannot reach Israeli territoty, is yet to be seen.
Hamas has accomplished nothing except gaining sympathy from the world. For that, they have suffered enormous danage that they will be years rebuilding. It is doubtful they will agree to demilitarization, so it looks like Israel will have to impose that condition on them one way or another.