New year in Gaza starts with shelling as Israel announces partial troop withdrawal from besieged strip

The new year began with continued Israeli bombardment flattening homes across the Gaza Strip and a flurry of rockets targeting Tel Aviv at midnight.

The death toll of Palestinians killed in the blockaded enclave since the war began on 7 October approached the 22,000 mark, as heavy tank shelling and air strikes were reported overnight and into Monday morning across the territory.

In the southern area of Khan Younis, air strikes killed and wounded several people, according to medics.

In Deir al-Balah in central Gaza, a resident who survived an Israeli air strike on a school, which killed six people on Sunday, recalled the moment the bomb hit.

“We were charging our phones in the yard when out of nowhere, a bomb was dropped on us,” the man, who did not give a name, told Middle East Eye on Monday.

“This is a school full of children and elderly people. They told us to move to Deir al-Balah and that’s why we came here. They said this school is safe. Is this what safety looks like?”

“Not a single man was in the room that was hit, only women and children and we recovered them as dismembered corpses. Where are the people of conscience? Wake up,” he continued.

It came as officials announced that Israel had begun the process of withdrawing thousands of its troops out of Gaza.

Military spokesperson Daniel Hagari told reporters on Monday that five brigades would be moved out of the enclave for training and rest.

He did not clarify whether Israel was entering a new phase of the war, but indicated that it would continue to wage a long war.

“The objectives of the war require prolonged fighting, and we are preparing accordingly,” Hagari stated.

An unnamed Israeli official told Reuters that some troops may be re-deployed to the northern border with Lebanon, whose Hezbollah members have been exchanging fire with Israel in solidarity with the Palestinians.

The official added that the withdrawal was designed to “re-energise the Israeli economy”.

Israel plans to bring in around 70,000 foreign workers from China, India and elsewhere to boost its construction sector, which has been largely frozen since the war began, Calcalist reported on Monday.

A plan to increase the quota of foreign construction workers to 70,000 from 50,000 would be approved by the government in the coming days, the report stated.

› Subscribe


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

The reCAPTCHA verification period has expired. Please reload the page.

More Articles