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Attempted Evacuation of Jewish Settlers Proceeds Amid Clashes


Jewish settlers have clashed for the second day with Israeli security forces trying to dislodge them from a West Bank outpost. The fighting occurred as the Israeli government announced a partial pullout of its troops a Palestinian self-rule area.

At least eight Israeli policemen were injured as they began evacuating residents from Havat Gilad, an illegal Jewish outpost near the West Bank city of Nablus.

Demonstrators set fire to a field near the outpost, burned tires and disabled a crane that was to be used to dismantle the settlement.

Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon condemned the protesters for resorting to violence. Mr. Sharon said any attack against the Israeli Defense Forces is an attack "on the rule of law" and must be "condemned in the strongest terms."

Mr. Sharon said that protests, regardless of whether they are for a just cause, must be made within the framework of the law. He said every effort must be made to prevent a repeat of such violence.

Meanwhile, Mr. Sharon's Cabinet agreed to make a partial troop pullout of the West Bank city of Hebron. Some Israeli soldiers would remain in two Palestinian neighborhoods that overlook Jewish settler enclaves in the city.

Under a 1997 interim peace agreement, most of Hebron was handed over to Palestinian self-rule.

Israeli forces reoccupied Hebron and six other West Bank cites in June, following a wave of Palestinian suicide bombings.

The troops have since left Bethlehem. Mr. Sharon has said that the soldiers will be withdrawn from other areas once he is satisfied that Palestinian militants will not use them as bases to launch new attacks against Israelis.

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