Mideast Truce

Israel Speeds Gaza Pullout

With its fragile truce with Hamas in place, Israel is accelerating its troop withdrawal from Gaza, saying it wants to be done by Obama’s inauguration. The New York Times reports the death toll from the 23-day conflict has passed 1,300 as more decomposing bodies are uncovered in the territory, where Hamas is reasserting its control. A senior Israeli official tells the paper that Israel hopes to be out of Gaza by the time Obama becomes president, so he can concentrate on rebuilding the area and supporting the moderate Palestinian leadership of President Mahmoud Abbas. UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon is due in Gaza Tuesday to work on hammering out a more durable peace agreement.