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Bulgarian Worker Killed in West Bank;  Israeli Forces Ready Bethlehem Pullout


A foreign worker has been killed in a shooting incident near the West Bank town of Jenin.

Israel's Army Radio reported that the man, a worker from Bulgarian, was shot in the head and died a short time later. Sunday, Palestinian militants declared a cease-fire.

Meanwhile, Israeli and Palestinian officials are working out details for the withdrawal of Israeli forces from the West Bank town of Bethlehem, which reports say could take place on Wednesday.

Palestinian police have taken over security from Israeli troops in the northern Gaza Strip, after Israeli forces withdrew overnight, taking down the cement barriers which had sealed off the area to everyone except soldiers and Jewish settlers for the past 33 months.

The Palestinians are now in control of Beit Hanoun along with the main north-south highway in the Gaza Strip. Israeli forces are still in place manning a checkpoint near the Jewish settlement of Kfar Darom.

Israel Radio reported that Prime Minister Ariel Sharon is to meet Tuesday with Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas to discuss further implementation of the internationally backed peace plan known as the road map.

The Israeli pullout from northern Gaza followed a declaration by Palestinian militants of a three-month suspension of attacks on Israelis. Hamas and Islamic Jihad said their ceasefire depended on Israel meeting their demands for an end to attacks on Palestinian militants, no more incursions into Palestinian areas and the release of Palestinian prisoners.

Yasser Arafat's mainstream Fatah faction also announced that its militant wing, the al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades, would abide by the truce.

The developments coincided with a visit to Israel and the Palestinian territories by U.S. national security adviser Condoleezza Rice to promote the so-called international "road map" peace plan

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