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UPI Focus: Israeli troops await Hebron orders

JERUSALEM, Jan. 16 -- Israeli military commanders are waiting for orders to redeploy troops from Hebron. Such an order could be issued by Thursday night if parliamentarians approve Israel's accord with the Palestinians.

Israel's central command chief, Brig. Gen. Uzi Dayan, told Israel radio the transfer of authority would take place without fanfare. Dayan said: 'We are not taking risks....From the Israeli perspective, it is not an easy day and there are many fears.' Israeli troops finished removing concrete barriers and other heavy equipment Thursday on the three occupied West Bank outposts in Hebron that they would hand over to Palestinian police. Soldiers lowered and folded Israel's blue-striped star flag from the civil administration headquarters, a symbol to Palestinians of the occupation. Both Israel's and the Palestinian Authority's Cabinets approved the redeployment agreement Wednesday, the same day it was initialed by chief negotiators from both sides. It was being debated Thursday evening by the 120 parliamentarians in Israel's Knesset. The agreement upset Hebron's 450 Israeli settlers, many of whom voiced fears about attacks by the resident population of at least 120, 000 Palestinians. The mayor of Hebron's adjoining Kiryat Arba Israeli settlement, Zvi Katsover, said: 'It is a fatal agreement, so we are not calm.' The settlers were not planning joint protests against the troop withdrawal, he said, but he added: 'Every individual is responsible for himself.' ---

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