As rocket fire from Gaza declines, IDF releases 5 brigades; fighting likely throughout 2024

Emanuel (Mannie) Fabian is The Times of Israel's military correspondent

Rockets are fired toward Israel from the Gaza Strip, as seen from southern Israel, December 15, 2023. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)
Rockets are fired toward Israel from the Gaza Strip, as seen from southern Israel, December 15, 2023. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)

The Israel Defense Forces has released five brigades from the fighting in the Gaza Strip, as rocket fire by Hamas has been curbed significantly with the military maintaining control of the ground.

The military believes the war against Hamas will likely continue throughout 2024, and says it is prepared for lengthy fighting.

The 460th Armored Brigade, responsible for the Armored Corps training base; the 261st Brigade, the Bahad 1 officers’ school in wartime; the 828th Brigade, the School for Infantry Corps Professions and Squad Commanders; the 14th Reserve Armored Brigade; and 551st Reserve Paratroopers Brigade, have all be released.

The brigades tasked with training soldiers will return to carrying out their usual activity, while the reservists are being released to help bounce back Israel’s economy.

In Gaza, the 162nd Division remains focused on Gaza City’s Daraj and Tuffah neighborhoods; the 36th Division is fighting Hamas in central Gaza’s al-Bureij; and the 98th, 99th and Gaza divisions are operating in the Strip’s south, in the Khan Younis area.

The ground operations in recent weeks have led to a significant decline in the number of rockets launched from Gaza at Israel.

According to IDF data, in the first week of December, after a truce with Hamas collapsed, 75 rockets were launched at Israel on average per day.

In the following week, that number dropped to 23 rockets on average per day; between December 15 and 21, only 16 rockets were fired per day; and between December 22 to 27, that number dropped to 14.

The data does not include mortars launched at ground troops in Gaza, rockets fired at the sea, and failed launches.

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