January 19th, 2009
07:08 PM ET
14 years ago

Israeli official: Gaza withdrawal could be over by inauguration

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/WORLD/meast/01/19/gaza.pullout.israel/art.gazatanks.afp.gi.jpg caption="Israeli tanks prepare to leave Gaza on Monday."]JERUSALEM (CNN) - Israel plans to have its troops out of Gaza as soon as possible after the weekend cease-fire that ended three weeks of fighting in the Palestinian territory, Israeli officials said Monday.

An Israeli Foreign Ministry official said that the pullout, which already had begun Sunday, could be finished by Tuesday evening.

The official, who declined to be named, said that the withdrawal could be complete before U.S. President-elect Barack Obama takes his oath of office in Washington at noon ET Tuesday - 7 p.m. in Israel - though commanders have not been given that deadline.

The Israel Defense Forces said Sunday that it had begun withdrawing some troops from Gaza, and Israeli government spokesman Mark Regev said Sunday that troops would be out in a matter of days, not weeks.

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Filed under: Gaza • Inauguration
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