Israel plans to partially withdraw its forces from Gaza in the coming months as the war against Hamas enters a new phase Monday.
Israeli Defense Forces will now shift toward more targeted operations against Hamas, reducing the use of artillery and air strikes. Some of the reservists pulled up for active duty will also return to civilian life to help stimulate the economy, Reuters reported.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reiterated this weekend that the war is set to last many more months, however.
‘This will take six months at least, and involve intense mopping-up missions against the terrorists. No one is talking about doves of peace being flown from Shajaia,’ an Israeli official told Reuters, referring to a district in Gaza.
The move comes weeks after President Biden’s administration lobbied Israel to wind down its offensive in Gaza and do more to prevent civilian casualties.
Israeli forces control virtually all of Gaza, but resistance remains based out of Hamas labyrinth of tunnels beneath the region.
Israeli forces also have yet to obtain their top prize in the war: Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar. Both Sinwar and his brother, who leads the southern Hamas forces, have eluded Israeli forces throughout the conflict.
Meanwhile, the U.S. military has sought to prevent Israel’s war from spreading into a wider regional conflict.
Iran-backed terrorist groups in Lebanon, Syria, Iraq and Yemen have all attacks U.S. or Israeli forces in some manner since October.
Reuters contributed to this report.