Israel Completes Pullout

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Israel forces have completely exited from Lebanon. The last forces crossed the border around 2:30 am local time. Hezbollah allies immediately surveyed the former Israeli positions. That's just great, isn't it?

Witnesses said the Israelis began moving tanks and armored carriers out of a few pockets near the border in southern Lebanon after midnight.

Israeli military officials said the last soldiers returned to Israel around 2:30 a.m., ahead of the onset of Yom Kippur, the holiest day on the Jewish calendar.

An armored column creaked across the border at the Israeli border community of Moshav Avivim, leaving tread marks in the soil and sending a cloud of dust into the air that was illuminated by the vehicle's headlights.

Israeli forces abandoned their hilltop position near the village of Marwaheen early Sunday. Lebanon's state-run news agency said Israeli forces also vacated nine other positions.

The pullout ended a nearly three-month troop incursion into Lebanon in pursuit of Hezbollah guerrillas who had fired rockets on Israel. It clears the way for the full deployment of an international peacekeeping force that will police the border with the Lebanese army.

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Not long after the Israelis had left Marwaheen, a white U.N. armored personnel carrier with three Ghanaian soldiers on top arrived at Marwaheen from a nearby U.N. base, apparently to verify the Israeli withdrawal.

Two Lebanese plainclothes military intelligence officers then inspected the site. Another man in civilian clothing who came to look at the area said he was from Amal, the Shiite group allied with Hezbollah.

That the representatives for Hezbollah feel confident enough to show up like that does not bode well for the success of the UN peacekeepers, I suspect. Then again, I never did think it would be all that successful.

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