Israel Tells Troops to Exit Ramallh

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JERUSALEM?Israel’s defense minister ordered his forces Tuesday to leave the West Bank town of Ramallah, continuing a staged pullout from six towns the Israelis took over after the killing of an Israeli Cabinet minister.

Defense Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer said in a statement that Israel would turn Ramallah over to Palestinian commanders, who would be responsible for security.

The incursions have drawn repeated demands from the United States that Israel withdraw.

After it leaves Ramallah?the seat of Yasser Arafat’s Palestinian Authority in the West Bank?Israel will still control parts of two other towns?Jenin and Tulkarem. No time for the withdrawal from Ramallah was announced.

Also Tuesday, Palestinian militants fired on an Israeli army patrol south of the West Bank town of Nablus. Three Palestinians and one Israeli were killed in a 40-minute firefight, villagers and the army said.