5:37 PM – IDF soldiers salute in Qana on Sunday following the liberation of the Israeli village of Kudab in the northern Gaza Strip.
The soldiers are part of a unit called the 2nd Infantry Division and they received the news in the village of Taba, a few hundred meters from the Israeli border.
A group of the soldiers and their families received the announcement in the Qana area.
“We are not surprised by this, it’s a long time since we were there,” said Lieutenant-Colonel Ayoub Basker, commander of the IDF’s 1st Battalion.
He told Al Jazeera that the unit was not part of any regular military unit and was deployed only on special missions.
“It’s a part of the unit that we deployed last year for security reasons,” he added.
The soldiers will now remain at the base for two days, the commander said.
The IDF has lost most of its control over Gaza after the Islamist militant group Hamas took control of the enclave in 2007.
Hamas controls large areas of the Strip, including in the Gaza Strip city of Rafah.
Israel’s military and security forces have struggled to recapture the enclave, which was devastated by the devastating 2006 war that killed 2,500 people.
Since then, Gaza has been controlled by Hamas and other Islamist groups and their militias, including the so-called Islamic Jihad movement, which has been fighting the Israeli occupation of the territory.