Israeli troops leave Gaza ahead of Obama inauguration

Published: Tuesday, January 20, 2009, 12:36 [IST]

Jerusalem, Jan.20 (ANI): Israel will have all of its troops out of the Gaza Strip by the time Barack Obam gets himself inaugurated as the 44th President of the United States.

According to Fox News, thousands of troops have left Gaza since Israel declared a unilateral halt to fire on Saturday after a devastating three-week-long onslaught.

Gaza's Hamas rulers ceased fire 12 hours later.

However, large contingents of Israeli soldiers continue to keep a close watch at the border, prepared to re-enter the territory if violence re-ignites.

Saudi Arabian King Abdullah has pledged to release a billion dollars to help rebuild the Gaza Strip. A senior European Union official said Monday that she expected humanitarian aid to the war-ravaged Gaza Strip to flow quickly but signaled that reconstruction of buildings and infrastructure would only begin when the EU has an acceptable Palestinian partner.

The EU considers Gaza's current ruler, the violent Islamic Hamas, a terrorist group and has no direct dealings with it. The United States and Israel take the same position.

Visiting EU External Relations Commissioner Benita Ferrero-Waldner did not explicitly single out Hamas, but she strongly hinted that it would be difficult to rebuild Gaza as long as the Islamic movement remains opposed to international peace efforts. (ANI)

 

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