Israel Speeds Gaza Pullout to Beat Inauguration

Aim is to get troops out before Obama is inaugurated
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 19, 2009 9:09 AM CST
A Palestinian boy holds a Hamas flag over a destroyed house today in Beit Lahia, northern Gaza Strip.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – Israel hastened its withdrawal from Gaza today, saying the troops could be out in time for Barack Obama’s inauguration tomorrow—assuming the Palestinians keep their end of the ceasefire. But some rockets were fired after the ceasefire was declared, and Hamas’ armed wing has promised to rearm ASAP, the Guardian reports. “Manufacturing the holy weapons is our mission,” a spokesman said.

With the Palestinian death toll at 1,250 and counting, international pressure for speedy withdrawal is high. Leaders from England, France, Spain, Germany, and elsewhere met with PM Ehud Olmert yesterday to push for peace. “We didn’t set out to conquer Gaza. We didn't set out to control Gaza," he said. "We intend on leaving Gaza as fast as possible.”