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Israel: Too early to determine withdrawal schedule

Jan. 18, 2009 3:18 P.M. (Updated: Jan. 18, 2009 3:18 P.M.)
Bethlehem - Ma'an- Israel will not put a "timetable" on the withdrawal of troops from the Gaza Strip until Hamas and other factions stop attacking them, said Israeli government spokesperson Mark Regev Sunday afternoon.

The comments came shortly after a statement from Hamas saying it would agree to the ceasefire so long as Israeli troops leave Gaza within the week. The UN has also called for such a timetable.

Reuters reported Regev as saying "We can't talk about a timetable for withdrawal until we know that the ceasefire is in progress."

An Israeli security source said "the next few hours will be a test for the ceasefire" noting that the Israeli army is prepared to respond to any attacks or projectiles.

Another security source noted that troops will remain in Gaza for fear of an escalation in attacks.

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