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Israelis withdraw from West Bank city

Published March 2, 2007


NABLUS, West Bank - A weeklong military raid ended Thursday in Nablus, the largest city in the West Bank, the military said, after soldiers scoured the crowded Old City for militants and kept tens of thousands of residents confined to their homes by a curfew.

District governor Kamal Sheikh said the Israeli jeeps and bulldozers began leaving the city late in the morning and were gone by afternoon.

Before the pullout, Israeli troops exchanged fire with armed men in a mosque and stormed an apartment building where gunmen were thought to be hiding.

The Nablus manhunt was the military's largest West Bank operation since July. The army, which has uncovered three explosives labs in the city this week, says most suicide bombers who have attacked Israeli targets over the past year came from the city, a militant stronghold.

In downtown Nablus, soldiers left the narrow stone alleyways of the Old City, where the operation had centered since it began Sunday, lifting a curfew that confined tens of thousands of people to their homes.

[Last modified March 2, 2007, 01:26:43]

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