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Monday, August 22, 2005
Completion of Evacuation of the Gaza Strip

IDF Spokesperson's Office
August 23, 2005

IDF SPOKESPERSON ANNOUNCEMENT

Evacuation of Israeli civilians from the Gaza Strip completed

Today, Monday, August 22, 2005, the evacuation of all Israeli civilians from
the Israeli communities in the Gaza Strip has been completed, in accordance
with the "Implementation of the Disengagement Plan 2005" Law.

The evacuation process that lasted 5 days, consisted of the evacuation of
approximately 8000 civilians, from 21 Israeli communities in the Gaza Strip.
During the evacuation Palestinian gunmen opened fire at IDF positions and
Israeli communities on 18 separate occasions, lightly wounding two IDF
soldiers. Furthermore, Palestinians launched two Qassam rockets and fired
ten mortar shells. Two explosive devices were uncovered and neutralized, in
addition to an explosive belt that was uncovered in the Mouassi region, that
was intended to be used in a terror attack in Gush Katif.

During the evacuation of the community of Kfar Darom, on August 18, 2005,
approximately 200 civilians, mostly youth, barricaded themselves in the
synagogue of the community. After dialogue between IDF and Israel Police
officers with representatives of the civilians in the synagogue failed, it
was decided to break into the synagogue and remove those barricading
themselves inside. The security forces who had approached the roof of the
synagogue, where a large number of protesters were located, encountered
especially violent protests, during which eggs, paint cans filled with oil,
tar and toxic acid were hurled at the forces. 31 IDF soldiers and Israel
Police forces were lightly wounded, some as a result of the acid on their
skin. The wounded were taken to hospital for medical treatment. After a
violent confrontation that lasted several hours, in which the forces were
forced to disperse the rioters with water cannons, the synagogue was
evacuated, and a number of rioters were arrested.

Even before the completion of the evacuation of the civilians in the Gaza
Strip, Defense Ministry teams have begun to operate in the evacuated
communities, in order to pack and remove the belongings of those residents
who did not pack before the evacuation. The belongings will be transferred
by the Defense Ministry to the location of the resident's choosing. In
addition, the Defense Ministry has begun the demolition of private buildings
in the evacuated communities.

At the same time, the IDF continues to remove the military infrastructure
that served the Israeli security forces in the Gaza Strip. After the
completion of all aforementioned stages and in accordance with the decision
of the Israeli government, IDF forces will evacuate the Gaza Strip and
redeploy along its new lines of defense.

Upon the IDF's final evacuation of the Gaza Strip, the Palestinian Authority
and its security apparatus will be solely and fully responsible for order
and security throughout the Gaza Strip and in general for preventing
Palestinian terror attacks in Israeli territory.

The IDF will deploy outside the Gaza Strip, along security lines that will
best provide security to the Israeli civilians living in the region and
throughout Israel.

The completion of the evacuation of the Israeli residents and communities of
Gush Katif, Netzarim and the Northern Gaza Strip, brings to a close an
important chapter of 30 years of settlement. The IDF has accompanied the
settlement of the Gaza Strip from its first days, and participated in the
founding of communities with the Nahal Brigade. The IDF served as a military
authority also involved in the civilian aspects of settlement, and above all
as a security force ensuring the safety of the residents, especially in the
last few years of conflict. IDF commanders have for decades accompanied the
residents of the Gaza Strip and witnessed the development of the
communities, the daily needs of the residents, their distress, their moments
of joy and sadness. It is especially during these difficult and sad times of
the evacuation of the residents, that the strong bond between IDF commanders
and soldiers and the residents of the Gaza Strip came to the fore, and that
the evacuating forces and those evacuated were able to overcome this
challenge united. IDF commanders and soldiers are all joined in the hope
that the residents' relocation will be quick and successful. The IDF salutes
the memory of the residents of the Gaza Strip who fell victim during the war
against terror.

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