The Israeli military has withdrawn all troops from the Gaza Strip, following an announcement by the prime minister and the interior minister that Israel’s withdrawal was imminent.
The announcement came shortly after Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh said Israel would be “crippled” by the military’s withdrawal.
Israeli officials said the withdrawal would allow for more freedom of movement in the occupied West Bank.
Haniyyeh also said he would visit Israel’s border with Egypt to express his gratitude for the cooperation between the two countries in the fighting against ISIS.
The two leaders will meet next week, and Israel will also announce that it will extend the Gaza ceasefire until March 24.
The truce will last until Israel and Hamas reach an agreement to end the fighting.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said Israel’s security needs are urgent and it was necessary to withdraw forces.
He said the move would allow the IDF to focus its resources on the “resistance,” a term for Palestinians seeking the creation of an independent state in the West Bank and Gaza.
A Palestinian man inspects the damage to his home in Rafah, southern Gaza Strip.