Israel Pulls Some Forces From West Bank Town

JERUSALEM, Oct 25, 01 ( - Israel withdrew military forces from a West Bank town on Thursday in an apparent sign of an increasing desire to find a peaceful solution to the current tensions that have left dozens dead in a week of violence.

The move came as Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, under US pressure, called a high-level meeting to consider further withdrawals from Palestinian areas. The US has been trying to keep together an alliance of nations, including shaky support from Arab countries, as it responds to the September 11 terrorist attacks. But Israel's forceful responses to the assassination of a Cabinet minister last week made some Muslim alliance members even more skittish.

Israeli forces withdrew from the Palestinian village of Beit Reema before dawn, one day after launching a deadly raid that Israel called an anti-terrorist operation and the Palestinian Authority condemned as a massacre. The army said it killed five Palestinian gunmen in Wednesday's raid to root out militants and arrest those involved in last week's assassination of Tourism Minister Rehavam Zeevi. But Palestinian officials said the dead were all members of Palestinian security forces, although some sources have said that those security forces are connected to Islamic militants organizations.

Catholic World News Service - Daily News Briefs
25. oktober 2001