Israel Pulls Out of Gaza on Eve of Rice Visit

Two-day 'interval' during Rice's Mideast visit
By Katherine Thompson,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 3, 2008 6:07 AM CST
Israeli soldiers return to Israel following a military operation in the Gaza Strip, near Kfar Aza, southern Israel, early Monday, March 3, 2008. Israeli ground troops pulled out of northern Gaza before...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – Israeli troops pulled out of the Gaza Strip today after five days of fighting that left over 100 Palestinians dead. Hamas is exulting over its "victory" over the "army of Jews," but Israeli leaders say the operation has served its deterrent purpose. A "two-day interval" is planned during a visit by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Reuters reports.

Rice will be holding talks in a bid to push forward peace negotiations, while Israeli officials wait to see whether Hamas will stop its rocket attacks on Israel. "If they decide they've seen enough and stop the rockets, then we may get into a period of quiet," said a spokesman. "If they continue to fire the rockets, then there will be more operations like this one or worse."