Israeli Army Withdraws
From Palestinian Cities

JERUSALEM (Reuters) - The Israeli army said it withdrew its forces from the West Bank cities of Jenin and Ramallah Thursday and would continue to ease restrictions on Palestinian areas.
A Voice of Palestine radio correspondent confirmed troops had left Jenin, but a Palestinian security source said they were still in three neighborhoods of Ramallah, where Israel has banned Palestinian President Yasser Arafat from leaving.
The withdrawal came just ahead of the scheduled return to the region of U.S. envoy Anthony Zinni, who is to meet Israeli officials Thursday and Palestinian officials Friday to try to forge a lasting cease-fire after two weeks of relative calm.
``The forces will continue the plan of easing restrictions on the Palestinians according to government directives,'' the army said in a statement.
Israel sent troops into Palestinian-ruled areas in Jenin, Ramallah and several other West Bank cities after a spate of suicide attacks in December in which scores of Israelis were killed. Zinni, who was on a peace mission at the time, returned to the United States with his mission in ruins.

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