Israel Reduces Control of 4 West Bank Towns

By: Associated Press Email
By: Associated Press Email

JERUSALEM (AP) - Under pressure from the United States, Israel is reducing its security presence in four West Bank towns.

Israeli and Palestinian defense officials say Israel is granting U.S.-trained Palestinian security forces greater autonomy in the four towns.

The Israeli military says Palestinian security forces "will be able to extend their hours of operation" in the towns. But it says Israeli forces will continue to operate in the West Bank "in order to thwart terrorist operations."

Israel has already has turned over security control to Palestinians in three other West Bank towns.

The Israeli military doesn't routinely patrol West Bank towns, but frequently conducts nighttime and occasional daytime arrest raids.

The ability of Palestinian security forces to maintain law and order is key to Mideast peacemaking because Israel needs to be convinced that a future Palestinian state won't threaten its security.

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