The Israel Defense Forces said Monday it would pull out troops stationed in communities that do not directly border the Gaza Strip.

The move is to be implemented Thursday, the Army Spokesman’s Office said in a statement. It reflects a security-situation assessment that the presence of civilian squads – community residents who have undergone special training as first responders to security threats – was optimal for protection.

The statement said the move was coordinated with the heads of regional councils in the area. But the chairmen of three regional councils last night reiterated their demand that the Defense Ministry build a more massive fence all along the border. […]