The 36th Armored Division leaves Gaza after 80 days of war
Eighty days after the Israel Defense Forces launched its ground offensive against Hamas, the military’s largest regular-service armored division exited the Gaza Strip for rest and training, leaving three other divisions fighting the terrorist organization.
Soldiers of the 36th Armored Division, which includes the Golani Infantry Brigade and the 7th and 188th Armored Brigades, concluded their mission in Gaza on Monday with a ceremony near the border that included a flyover by Israeli Air Force helicopters.
“Golani Brigade, you are lions; you are the fighters of the Jewish people and the State of Israel. We are grateful for the privilege to have fought with you and alongside you from both above and below; we will always be with you,” IAF pilots told troops leaving the Strip.
The division’s units will be given a brief break from their army service before they return for a period of training, after which the IDF will decide if and where to redeploy them based on operational needs.
Three armored divisions now remain in the Gaza Strip, in addition to special forces. The 162nd Division operates in northern Gaza, the 99th Division remains in the central part of the Strip, and the 98th Division is fighting in the southern Hamas stronghold of Khan Yunis.
Last week, Defense Minister Yoav Gallant told U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken that Jerusalem would “intensify and continue” its military operation in the south until the Hamas leadership is found and the hostages held by the terrorist group are returned to the Jewish state.
At the same time, The Washington Post cited a senior U.S. official as saying that Israel has already withdrawn several thousand troops from northern Gaza, in “a significant drawdown” from the coastal enclave.
In a statement shared with JNS on Tuesday, the IDF said it was “currently adjusting deployment plans for forces in Gaza and the reserve system.