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New Figures Show Population Increase in Israeli West Bank Settlements 

Israel says the population of its West Bank settlements has grown, even as the country withdraws from the Gaza Strip.

The Israeli Interior Ministry says 246,000 Jewish settlers lived in the West Bank as of June, 2005, about 10,000 more than a year earlier.

A spokesman said the increase resulted from births and an influx of new residents, but he could not give a breakdown for each figure.

Palestinians claim the West Bank and east Jerusalem as part of a future Palestinian state. Israel captured the territories in the 1967 Mideast war.

Meanwhile, an Israeli woman has died after setting herself on fire last week to protest Israel's withdrawal from Gaza.

On Tuesday, Israeli troops finished evacuating all 21 Jewish settlements in Gaza and four in the West Bank under Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's plan to "disengage" from the Palestinians.

Some information for this story provided by AP and Reuters.