Israel: Troops will leave Gaza by 8 am cease-fire

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Israeli reserve soldiers are seen on the top of an armored personnel carrier returning to Israel from Gaza Strip, southern Israel, Monday, Aug. 4, 2014. A brief cease-fire declared by Israel and troop withdrawals slowed violence in the Gaza war Monday, but an attack on an Israeli bus that killed one person in Jerusalem underscored the tensions still simmering in the region as Israeli airstrikes resumed late in the day. (AP Photo/Tsafrir Abayov)

JERUSALEM (AP) — The Israeli military says all its ground troops will have pulled out of the Gaza Strip by the start of the cease-fire agreed to by both sides in the war.

Lt. Col. Peter Lerner says the withdrawal will be completed by 8 a.m. (0500 GMT) Tuesday.

Lerner says the withdrawal is going forward after Israel completed the destruction of 32 cross-border tunnels meant to allow Islamic militants to carry out attacks against Israel.

The cease-fire is meant to end nearly four weeks of fighting between Israel and Hamas, which has claimed 1,900 Palestinian lives — most of them civilians. The war has also left 67 Israelis dead, all but three of them soldiers.