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Israel withdraws troops from Khan Younis

12:35 AM Apr 09, 2024 IST | IANS
israel withdraws troops from khan younis
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New Delhi, Apr 8: As Palestinians cautiously return to the conflict-ravaged city of Khan Younis, Israel's announcement of a troop reduction in Khan Younis, southern Gaza marks a noteworthy development in the ongoing conflict. It leaves only one brigade in the area, it signals temporary relief to intense combat operations.

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However, this withdrawal does not signify an imminent end to the conflict. Instead, it suggests a strategic adjustment towards targeting narrower objectives, potentially reducing civilian casualties in the process.

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Despite this tactical shift, the devastation wrought upon Khan Younis, heavily bombarded for months lies largely destroyed, with displaced individuals now returning to their homes.

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Widespread destruction is evident in social media footage. Buildings reduced to rubble, charred remnants of vehicles strewn across streets, and collapsed infrastructure paint a grim picture of the city's plight.

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The absence of functioning health services further compounds the humanitarian crisis, leaving residents without access to essential medical care. Hospitals and medical facilities lay in ruins, their equipment destroyed amidst the chaos of conflict.

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The United States, Israel's staunch ally, has been exerting pressure on the Israeli government to take concrete steps to prevent civilian deaths. President Joe Biden warned that ongoing support for Israel hinges on measures to boost aid and minimise civilian casualties. The conflict has already claimed over 33,000 lives, predominantly civilian, and displaced more than 1.7 million people, according to Palestinian health authorities and the United Nations.

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Ceasefire Negotiations in Cairo -Israel and Hamas at Odds Over Terms

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As negotiations between Israel and Hamas continue in Cairo, the situation remains fluid, with the prospects of a lasting ceasefire uncertain. In this volatile landscape, the resilience of Khan Younis' residents serves as a poignant reminder of the human cost of conflict and the urgent need for a peaceful resolution.

International pressure for a ceasefire is growing as negotiations between Israel and Hamas continue in Cairo. Egyptian media reports "noticeable progress" in discussions, but Israel remains sceptical.

Media quoting an Israeli official told Ynet news, "We still don’t see a deal on the horizon. The distance [between the sides] is still great and there has been nothing dramatic so far."

Al Jazeera quoted a source denying any progress, stating the Israeli delegation "did not respond to any of Hamas’s demands." These demands include a permanent ceasefire, Israeli troop withdrawal from Gaza, return of displaced Palestinians to their homes, and provision of freedom of movement, shelter, and aid, as well as a hostage-prisoner swap deal. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stated Israel won't agree to a ceasefire until hostages held in Gaza are released.

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