IDF says Nahal Brigade withdrawn from Gaza to prepare for looming Rafah operation

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

Troops of the Nahal Brigade are seen in the Netzarim corridor, central Gaza, in a handout image published April 25, 2024. (Israel Defense Forces)
Troops of the Nahal Brigade are seen in the Netzarim corridor, central Gaza, in a handout image published April 25, 2024. (Israel Defense Forces)

The IDF’s Nahal Brigade has been withdrawn from the Gaza Strip for it to prepare with the rest of the 162nd Division for future operations, including Israel’s looming offensive in Rafah.

In the past three months, Nahal had operated in the Netzarim corridor, which crosses Gaza from the Be’eri area in southern Israel to the Strip’s coast.

The corridor, built around a road south of Gaza City, enables the IDF to carry out raids in northern and central Gaza while allowing Israel to control access to the north for Palestinians seeking to return after fleeing south. It also enables Israel to coordinate deliveries of humanitarian aid directly to northern Gaza.

The IDF says the road is 6.8 kilometers long and takes just seven minutes to cross it.

This aerial image from video shows the Netzarim corridor in central Gaza, in footage published April 25, 2024. (Israel Defense Forces)

In the corridor, the IDF built three forward operating bases, which have enabled dozens of pinpoint raids to be carried out in northern and central Gaza, the military says.

Nahal is being replaced by two reserve brigades in central Gaza, the 679th “Yiftah” Armored Brigade and the 2nd “Carmeli” Infantry Brigade.

The brigade will now be given time for R&R, training and going over plans for future offensives in Gaza.

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