The last stand off in the Palestinian territory in the West Bank has ended as Palestinian gunmen left the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem. The 13 terrorist suspects Israel wanted were flown to Cyprus. From there, the men will go into exile in several European nations. While the Israelis wanted to get their hands on these men, who are all wanted for participation in terrorist attacks on Israeli civilians, the huge mass of data on terrorists picked up elsewhere in the West Bank has somewhat made up for it.
Israeli combat units continue to move to the outskirts of the Gaza Strip. This is where the Hamas terrorist organization has most of its support and resources. The Palestinian militants have had weeks to prepare defenses against an Israeli attack and apparently have used that time. The Gaza Strip is a more hostile environment for the Israeli army than the West Bank. The population density is greater, providing a greater chance that there will be civilian casualties. The Palestinians depend on a large number of civilian casualties in order to bring world opinion to their side and aid in terrorist recruiting. The Israelis try to avoid civilian casualties for that reason, but this is difficult when Israeli troops are in greater danger.
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