Israeli troops prepare to pull out of two West Bank cities

Monday, April 8, 2002

Associated Press WriterJERUSALEM (AP) -- Israeli troops are preparing to pull out of the West Bank towns of Qalqiliya and Tulkarem, military sources said Monday night.

The plans to withdraw from the cities came two days after President Bush urged Israel to start pulling out of the West Bank without delay.

Military sources, who asked not to be identified, told The Associated Press that troops were preparing for a staggered withdraw from the West Bank, beginning with Qalqiliya and Tulkarem. The sources did not say when the pullout would begin, but Israel Radio said it would start early Tuesday.

The radio report, which did not identify its military sources, said that troops would continue to maintain a cordon around the cities.

Israeli forces entered the two cities about a week ago to wipe out militant networks and seizing illegal weapons. So far, Israeli troops have taken control of all the major West Bank population centers during the 11-day operation.

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