Israel Begins 'Gradual Withdrawal' From Gaza

By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 18, 2009 2:46 PM CST
Britain's Prime Minister Gordon Brown, right, shakes hands with Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, left, as Czech Republic Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek, center, in Jerusalem, Sunday, Jan. 18, 2009.   (AP Photo/Stefan Rousseau, Pool)
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(Newser) – Israel began pulling troops out of the Gaza Strip today after Hamas echoed the call for a ceasefire, the Times of London reports. As troops started leaving, Gazans came out of their homes to survey the damage. Mosque loudspeakers declared "victory," but Palestinians appeared too stunned to celebrate. “Everything has been completely destroyed,” said one man looking at his neighborhood.

Meanwhile, politicians met at an Egyptian resort to call for a permanent ceasefire. “Three weeks of tragedy must be followed by immediate action to secure a permanent peace settlement,” British PM Gordon Brown said at a press conference alongside French President Nicolas Sarkozy and Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak. UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon told the Guardian that aid to "the people of Gaza is the immediate priority."