Mediators are hopeful that this breakthrough will be converted into a longer-term ceasefire.
Israel has announced that its core target of destroying cross-border tunnels and neutralising Hamas’ rockets aimed at Israel has been achieved.
Israel launched Operation Protective Edge on July 8 to end rocket attacks into Israel and destroy tunnels used by Palestinian militants.
Earlier, Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had vowed to target the growing force of Hamas in the region until “quiet is restored”. He warned, “We do not know when this operation will end.”
According to a statement released just prior to the withdrawal, the Israel Defence Forces said that since July 8 it had taken out 32 tunnels designed to allow militants to carry out raids into Israel, destroyed 3,000 missiles and killed about 900 “terrorists”.
Officials in Gaza estimate that 1,834 Palestinians have died since the conflict began, most of them civilians. While Israel says it has lost 64 soldiers and three civilians during the conflict. According to the United Nations, about 260,000 of Gaza’s 1.8 million people have been displaced.
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