Gaza withdrawal to be completed by Monday – Israeli Minister

The Israeli army to complete Gaza Strip withdrawal on Monday, three days ahead of schedule, Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz said Friday.

Israel Radio reported that the army would demolish Friday its liaison office in Gaza and a bridge leading to a bloc of Jewish settlements.

"According to the plan I authorized yesterday ... on Monday the 12th of the month no Israeli army soldier will remain in the boundaries of the Gaza Strip," Mofaz told Israel's Army Radio.

Mofaz's statement indicates the army will also complete a pullout from a volatile Gaza-Egypt patrol road. Israel was originally scheduled to complete its withdrawal on Sept. 15.

The only thing that can delay the pullout is a dispute over whether to destroy the synagogues still standing in the Jewish settlements evacuated last month, Mofaz said, adding that he is opposed to demolishing the synagogues.

Israel's Supreme Court lifted Thursday an order barring the army from demolishing the synagogues. The Cabinet is to decide Sunday on whether to demolish the holy buildings, Mofaz said, adding that he will vote against the destruction, reports the AP.

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