Curfew in Nablus slowly being lifted

The Israeli army is slowly lifitng the curfew that has been in place in Nablus for more than 100 days.

The Israeli army is slowly beginning to loosen its grip on Nablus, the biggest city in the West Bank.

An estimated 200,000 people in the city have been trapped indoors under a curfew that was imposed more than 100 days ago.

Israel believes the city is a hotbed of terrorism and that most suicide bombers have been trained and equipped there. But the army is beginning to back off a bit, lifting the curfew more often and for longer periods of time.

Some schools are reopening and a cleanup of the severely damaged areas of the city is beginning.

One of the most prominent and popular political leaders in Nablus is Hossam Khader, a member of the Palestinian Legislative Council from the Balatta refugee camp on the edge of the city.

Khader says the Israelis have succeeded in what they set out to do in Nablus. The invasion, occupation and curfew were designed to break the back of the militant groups based in the city.

Khader says close to 300 Palestinians have been killed in the city, many of them members of Hamas. But most, he says, were with the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades.

"I think they (Israel) achieved a lot of successful steps on the ground. (They have succeeded in) destroying the al-Aqsa Brigades infrastructure."

The number of suicide bombings in Israel has dropped dramatically in recent months. A zig-zagging system of walls and fences is being built around the West Bank. And the focus of Israel's military activity has shifted from Nablus to the Gaza Strip.

Israeli commanders say they're willing to lift the curfew in Nablus a bit more often, and a bit longer each time.