RAMALLAH, West Bank (AP) -- Israeli troops withdrew early Wednesday from Ramallah, the seat of Palestinian government and commerce, as Israel's largest military operation in the West Bank in years was drawing to an end. Elsewhere, two Palestinians were killed by Israeli fire.
Israeli tanks, jeeps and armored personnel carriers rolled from the northern neighborhoods of Ramallah toward the Israeli settlement of Beit El, as Palestinian security forces moved in.
"Tel Aviv, that way, and stay out," read a sign with an arrow, held up by several Palestinian residents watching the nighttime pullout.
In a statement, Israeli Defense Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer said his forces would maintain their cordon around the town. He said Israel would hold Yasser Arafat's Palestinian Authority responsible for preventing attacks against Israelis.
In the West Bank town of Yatta, Israeli undercover forces opened fire on three Palestinians, killing 50-year-old Issa Debabseh, a suspect in the killing of a Jewish settler several years ago, Palestinian security officials said. Israeli officials had no immediate comment.
In Gaza, a Palestinian was killed and five were wounded by Israeli fire near the Jewish settlement of Neve Dekalim, Palestinian security officials said. The army said it returned fire after three mortar shells were shot at the settlement.
The violence came a day after five Palestinians and an Israeli soldier were killed in two confrontations in the West Bank.
Israeli forces had moved into parts of six Palestinian towns after the Oct. 17 assassination of Tourism Minister Rehavam Zeevi. Militants from the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine claimed responsibility, revenge for Israel's killing of PFLP leader Mustafa Zibri.
With the completion of the Israeli pullback from Ramallah, only areas of the Palestinian towns of Tulkarem and Jenin remained under Israeli control. The Israeli military said that during its stay of nearly three weeks in Ramallah, "operations were carried out against the terrorist infrastructure in the town."
Ramallah residents, many of whom had been confined to their homes by an around-the-clock curfew, cheered the Israeli pullback.
"It is a new morning," said Mohammed Khatib, an employee at the Palestinian Information Ministry.
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