Israel returns Tulkarim to Palestinians

Israel has handed over security control for the West Bank city of Tulkarim to the Palestinian Authority, a Palestinian security official says.

    Other than two villages, Palestinians will control Tulkarim

    Earlier, Israel Radio said the two sides had finalised an agreement for the handover, which happened on Monday.

     

    This marks the second West Bank city Israeli occupation forces have returned to Palestinian control.

     

    Israelis and Palestinians agreed to a compromise on security arrangements for two villages near Tulkarim, which is due to be handed over following a ceasefire deal, the radio said on Monday.

       

    An Israeli military source said officials from both sides had met to finalise the handover.

     

    The handover was earlier delayed as both sides had failed to agree on the security arrangements for the two villages near Tulkarim.

       

       

    According to the radio, the deal for the Tulkarim handover calls for Palestinians to regain security control of the entire city which sits on the Green Line boundary between Israel and the West Bank.

       

    Further talks

     

    But two nearby West Bank villages would remain under Israeli control pending further talks, the radio said.

     

    Israeli security sources called two of the villages launch pads for a Palestinian human

    bombing that killed five people at a Tel Aviv nightclub on 25 February.

     

    Palestinians regained security control over the West Bank city of Jericho last Wednesday, the first of five cities that Israel promised to hand over when Israeli and Palestinian leaders Ariel Sharon and Mahmud Abbas agreed to a ceasefire on 8 February.

      

    Israeli forces had surrounded the cities during the start of the Palestinian uprising in September 2000.

    SOURCE: Reuters


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