Reservists from at least two brigades will be sent home this week, and another three brigades will return to Israel for training, the military said.
The Israeli military announced on Monday that it will begin withdrawing several thousand troops from Gaza at least temporarily, in what would be the most significant publicly announced pullback since the war began.
The military cited a growing toll on the Israeli economy following nearly three months of wartime mobilization with little end in sight to the fighting. Israel had been considering scaling back its operations, and the United States has been prodding it to do so more quickly as the death toll in Gaza continues to rise. More than 20,000 people have been killed in Gaza since the beginning of the war, according to local health authorities.
Daniel Hagari, the Israeli military spokesman, emphasized that the move to demobilize some soldiers did not indicate any compromise on Israel’s intention to continue fighting, and he did not mention the American requests to scale back. He indicated that some will be called back to service in the coming year. Still, the fighting remains intense across Gaza.
Reservists from at least two brigades will be sent home this week, the Israeli military said in a statement, and three brigades will be taken back for training.
“This move is expected to significantly alleviate economic burdens and enable them to gather strength for upcoming activities in the next year,” the Israeli military said.
Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken is expected to return to Israel in early January for further talks on the war, according to U.S. officials, after having met with a top Netanyahu aide in Washington last week alongside Jake Sullivan, the national security adviser. The three discussed pivoting to a different phase of the war to “maximize focus on high-value Hamas targets,” a White House official said.