Samson Option next? Israel suddenly withdraws “thousands of troops” from Gaza

It appears as though Israel is backtracking in its war on Gaza as media reports suggest the Jewish state is "withdrawing some units from Gaza."

According to reports, Israel's removal of some units out of Gaza likely amounts to "thousands of troops" who are receding, this as Palestinian fighters report "huge victories on the battlefield."

Israel says five of its military brigades, including many of its reservists, are leaving Gaza this week as part of an Israeli effort to "pace itself for an expected long-term conflict and to mitigate damage to Israel's economy," to quote NBC News.

Israel Defense Forces (IDF) says the following brigades will all be returning to their normal training missions this week:

• 828th Brigade

• 261st Brigade

• 460th Brigade

Israel's 551st Brigade and 14th Brigade, both of which are comprised of reservists, will also be allowed to go home and resume their jobs, the IDF announced.

What does Israel have planned next?

Israel clarified that these brigade removals do not mean an end or even a reduction to the war in Gaza. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has repeatedly stated that the war will continue for "many more months."

"The goals of the war require prolonged fighting and we are preparing accordingly," also stated IDF spokesman Daniel Hagari to reporters, adding that allowing the reservists to come home will "allow considerable relief for the economy and allow them to gather strength for the next activities in the coming year, and the fighting will continue and we will still need them."

As of this writing, Israel has not yet indicated precisely how many IDF soldiers are fighting in the Gaza Strip. We do know that thousands of IDF soldiers will now be allowed to leave, though, at least temporarily.

Circulating video footage does seem to suggest that the IDF is having more trouble in Gaza than it anticipated. The following videos show some of the injuries IDF soldiers are incurring as they battle resistance fighters:

Some are speculating that perhaps Israel is losing the war and is pulling out all these troops as a reflection of that. Others wonder if Israel is pulling its soldiers from Gaza in anticipation of larger "Samson Option" strikes, which Israel has long talked about as a potential next-step.

"What does this pullback really mean?" one commenter asked. "Will Israel now step up bombing civilians as revenge or has relocation to Europe and the U.S. already been worked out? Why hasn't Hezbollah shut down shipping traffic through Haifa and Ashdod the way the Houthis are doing with Eilat? Something doesn't add up."

Another wrote that she does not believe Israel is truly leaving, but rather that it is "giving the appearance of leaving, but will be embedded in some tunnels, in the rubble, etc."

"This is just another way for them to say one thing while doing another," this person added. "Remember, they told people go south, they still bombed them."

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