Israel 'to withdraw all troops' from Gaza before Obama inauguration

Israel planned to complete a troop withdrawal from Gaza before Barack Obama's inauguration on Tuesday, Israeli political sources said.

Israel 'to withdraw all troops' from Gaza before Obama inauguration
With a ceasefire entering its third day, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon planned to visit the Gaza Strip and view first-hand the devastation of a 22-day Israeli offensive.

He will be the highest-ranking international figure to visit the territory since separately declared ceasefires by Israel and Hamas ended the Israeli offensive.

More Israeli forces left the Gaza Strip on Monday and the Israeli political sources said all would be out before Obama was sworn in at 1700 GMT.

Hamas said an Israeli force near the town of Jabalya shot and killed a 17-year-old Palestinian.

Many Palestinians returned to the rubble of what used to be their homes in Gaza city suburbs that were hard hit during the offensive. They picked through debris, trying to salvage belongings.

Two children playing with unexploded ordnance were killed when it detonated, Palestinian officials said.

Israel offensive in Gaza killed more than 1,300 Palestinians in the air and ground strikes launched on Dec. 27.

Gaza's infrastructure was left in ruins and the repair bill was estimated by the Palestinian statistics bureau to be about $1.9 billion.

Hamas said 5,000 homes, 16 government buildings and 20 mosques were destroyed and that 20,000 houses were damaged.

Palestinian resistance groups said 112 of their fighters and 180 Gaza policemen were killed.

Israel put its dead at 10 soldiers and said three civilians were killed in rocket attacks.

In Geneva, World Health Organisation head Margaret Chan warned of a looming health crisis for many among the 1.5 million Palestinians living in the sliver of territory wedged between Israel and Egypt.

Chan said she was deeply concerned about an interruption of immunisations and other life-saving care in the territory, and of the availability of only 2,000 hospital beds in Gaza.


Reuters
Last Mod: 20 Ocak 2009, 15:03
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