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Archive for Monday, October 29, 2001

Israel starts pullback from West Bank towns

October 29, 2001

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— Israeli forces on Sunday pulled out of two West Bank towns, despite a drive-by shooting attack by Palestinian militants at a bus stop in the northern Israeli town of Hadera that killed four people.

Israeli tanks and armored personnel carriers left the biblical town of Bethlehem and nearby Beit Jalla in an operation that was completed early Monday, the army said in a statement. Palestinian security officials said they were patrolling positions Israeli forces evacuated, keeping the peace.

Israeli forces first launched incursions into West Bank towns Oct. 18, the day after Palestinian militants assassinated Rehavam Zeevi, an ultranationalist Israeli Cabinet minister. Israel said it had entered the towns to prevent further attacks on Israelis.

The United States and other countries strongly criticized the incursions and demanded a pullback, particularly from Bethlehem, Jesus' birthplace.

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