Lebanon: Israel begins pullout as ceasefire honored by both sides
Israel started pulling out forces from southern Lebanon and made plans to hand over territory Tuesday on the first full day of a tense cease-fire as Israeli and Hizbullah forces avoided any escalation.
As Lebanese refugees streamed home, Israeli warplanes dropped leaflets over southern Lebanon, warning residents to stay out of the area until Lebanese and international troops are deployed. "The situation will remain dangerous," until the forces are deployed, the leaflets read.
According to the AP, Israeli army officials said they intend to start handing over some positions on Wednesday and hope to complete the withdrawal from Lebanon by next week. The Israeli army stated it already had begun thinning out its forces in Lebanon.
In a highly symbolic step, the last Israel soldiers left the strategic town of Marjayoun, which was Israel's main base during its 18-year occupation of the border area that ended in 2000.
In southern Lebanon, rescue workers dug through the ruins of apartment buildings and homes in southern villages, looking for bodies that had been left buried because they could not be reached during the Israeli bombardment. At least 15 bodies were found in two villages near the border, Ainata and Taibeh.
Lebanese authorities and Hizbullah also dispatched teams fanning out across south Lebanon to clear unexploded ordnance from the battlefield. A 12-year-old girl was injured when an object exploded in her village east of Nabatiyeh.
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