The last tanks rumbled out of the Gaza Strip before dawn, as Israel's 38-year presence in the territory came to an end. The commander of Israeli forces in Gaza, Brigadier General Aviv Kochavi, was the last soldier to leave. Then, thousands of triumphant Palestinians stormed into abandoned Jewish settlements, setting synagogues on fire. Palestinian police stood by helplessly, raising concerns that Gaza could plunge into chaos. "Today is a day of joy and happiness that our people were deprived of in the past century," said Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas. He described Israeli rule in Gaza as "aggression, injustice, humiliation, killing and settlement activity."
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