Israeli officials say they will allow 16 Palestinians who were expelled to the Gaza Strip to return home to the West Bank Friday, in the latest goodwill gesture to the Palestinians.
The 16 are the first of an expected 55 to be allowed to return after the Israeli army expelled them for security reasons.
Also Thursday, the Israeli army announced that Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz decided to stop the controversial practice of destroying the family homes of Palestinians suspected of carrying out suicide attacks against Israeli targets.
The army referred to a study that found the policy did little to deter militant attacks and that it spawned hatred towards Israel in the Palestinian territories.
Some information for this story provided by AP and AFP.