TEL AVIV (Agencies): The Israeli military officially announced on Monday the withdrawal of thousands of troops from the Gaza Strip. This move could mark the beginning of a new phase characterized by lower-intensity confrontations with the Hamas militant group.
The troop drawdown confirmation coincided with Israel’s Supreme Court overturning a crucial element of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s controversial judicial overhaul plan on the same day. While the plan itself is not directly related to the ongoing conflict, it has been a source of significant internal divisions within Israel and had the potential to impact military readiness before the October 7 Hamas attack that triggered the current hostilities.
Politicians have cautioned against reigniting internal divisions, emphasizing the importance of maintaining national unity throughout the Israel-Hamas conflict.
Simultaneously, the USS Gerald R. Ford aircraft carrier strike group, which has been on an extended deployment protecting Israel at sea, is set to return home, as announced by the Navy on Monday. The USS Bataan, an amphibious assault ship, the USS Mesa Verde, and the USS Carter Hall, will replace the Ford and its accompanying warships. These vessels, previously in the Red Sea, have been en route to the Eastern Mediterranean recently.
The USS Gerald R. Ford, stationed in the Eastern Mediterranean since the October 7 attacks by Hamas, played a crucial role in the region, and its return home signifies a shift in the naval assets dedicated to the area. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin visited Ford last month during its deployment.