Thousands of Israeli soldiers and police are forcibly evicting Jewish settlers from the Gaza Strip.
Israeli officials said late Wednesday the withdrawal is going faster than anticipated. They say 60 percent of the settlers are now out of the Palestinian territory. Near one settlement, Israeli troops found an explosives belt which they say the militant group, Islamic Jihad, planned to use to attack Israeli forces or settlers.
Meanwhile, Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon urged settlers not to attack police and soldiers. He described video of the evacuation as heartbreaking. Israel is also withdrawing from four small settlements in the West Bank, where an Israeli man killed four Palestinians Wednesday. Mr. Sharon condemned the attack as an act of Jewish terrorism. Mr. Sharon proposed the Gaza pullout because he said the cost in Israeli lives and money was too high for protecting the 85-hundred settlers there.