The Israeli military has withdrawn all ground troops from the southern Gaza Strip except for one brigade, a military spokesperson said on Sunday. The military did not immediately provide further details. It was unclear whether the withdrawal would delay a long-threatened incursion into the southern Gaza city of Rafah, which Israeli leaders have said is needed to eliminate Hamas.

The withdrawal comes as Egypt prepares to host a new round of talks aimed at reaching a ceasefire and hostage release deal. Israel's offensive in Gaza, launched after the

attack by Hamas on Israel six months ago on October 7, has focused in the past months on the south of the Palestinian enclave.

Rafah has become the last refuge for more than a million Palestinians sheltering in the territory near the border with Egypt. More than 250 hostages were seized and some 1,200 people were killed during the Oct. 7 attack, according to Israeli tallies. More than 33,100 Palestinians have been killed in the Israeli offensive, according to the health ministry in Gaza. An Israeli brigade is typically made up of a few thousand troops.
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