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Israeli Withdrawal To Cost $234M

October 19, 1999

JERUSALEM (AP) _ The Israeli army estimates it will cost $234 million to withdraw its troops from Lebanon and redeploy them along the Israeli border, a newspaper said Tuesday.

Prime Minister Ehud Barak has promised to withdraw the army from Lebanon by July.

Most of the money would be used for building shelters and other protective facilities in the Israeli towns and villages along the border, the daily Yediot Ahronot said.

Large sums will also be spent on a new fence along the border, with sophisticated electronic systems for detecting intruders. The army did not immediately comment on the report.

Israel occupies a strip of land in south Lebanon to protect its northern border from attacks by Lebanese guerrillas. Hezbollah, an Iranian-backed Lebanese group, has been fighting to oust the Israelis.

Lebanese police arrested several people Tuesday for making phone calls to Israel, the Lebanese State Security service said in a statement. Lebanon prohibits contact or dealings with Israel, with which it is technically at war.

Police arrested two employees of a telephone office in Zalka, a district north of Beirut where the calls originated, as well as ``several people″ who had used a phone booth there to call Israel, the statement said.

The office has been closed pending an investigation.

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