Israel pulls troops from Gaza as 72-hour cease-fire begins

Israel pulls troops from Gaza as 72-hour cease-fire begins

The Israel Defense Forces pulled its troops out of Gaza in observance of a 72-hour cease-fire, as negotiations began on a permanent truce.

The Israeli troops will maintain a defensive line on the border with Gaza, according to the IDF.

In the hour before the cease-fire went into effect at 8 a.m. Monday, nearly 20 rockets were fired at southern and central Israeli communities. One of the rockets scored a direct hit on a home in the Palestinian town of Beit Sahour, near Bethlehem. Several other rockets fell short of their targets, landing in Gaza. The Iron Dome missile defense system intercepted five of the rockets over southern and central Israel.

The IDF announced following the withdrawal of troops that it has destroyed all of the Hamas tunnels leading from Gaza into Israel, a total of 32 tunnels and their branches.

Israel was set on Tuesday to send a negotiating team to Cairo for talks on a permanent truce between Israel and the Palestinian factions in Gaza, according to reports.

Meanwhile, about 300 trucks carrying aid to Gaza, including medical supplies and food, were scheduled to enter Gaza at the Kerem Shalom border crossing on Tuesday.

In Gaza, medical teams gathered to search for bodies and survivors in areas of eastern Gaza that had been inaccessible due to airstrikes and shelling, the Palestinian Maan news agency reported.

At least 1,867 Palestinians have been killed and nearly 10,000 have been injured during Israel’s 29-day operation in Gaza, according to Maan. Sixty-four Israeli soldiers and 3 civilians were killed.

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