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Israel Plans Hebron Pullout - 2002-10-15

Israel's Defense Minister, Binyamin Ben-Eliezer, says plans are in place to pull out Israeli troops from most of the West Bank city of Hebron this week. The announcement comes as Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon is in Washington for talks with U.S. President George W. Bush.

Mr. Ben-Eliezer says intense efforts are being made to pull Israeli troops out of the Palestinian ruled part of Hebron by this weekend.

Israeli troops seized control over most Palestinian areas in the West Bank in June, following a series of suicide bombings by Palestinian militants.

But Israeli Prime Minister, Ariel Sharon promised they would not be stationed there permanently and the soldiers have already withdrawn from Bethlehem.

Meanwhile, Israeli police now say that an incident on a bus in northern Israel on Tuesday was not a terrorist attack as originally feared.

Mystery still surrounds the shattering of several windows on the bus, which slightly injured four passengers, but police say it was some sort of accident.

Earlier Tuesday, Israeli police briefly detained the senior Muslim cleric in Jerusalem, Mufti Ikrema Sabri, about statements he made which Israel says demonstrate support for suicide bombings.