updated 4/21/2005 8:56:22 AM ET 2005-04-21T12:56:22

Israeli Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz agreed Thursday to a proposed three-week delay in this summer’s withdrawal from the Gaza Strip, security officials said.

Mofaz accepted the proposed delay during a meeting with top military and police officials, the officials said on condition of anonymity.

Mofaz’s recommendation will go to a ministerial committee headed by Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, who has said he would make a final decision on the delay after consulting with security officials.

The committee is expected to approve Mofaz’s decision.

Under the proposed delay, the withdrawal would be pushed back from July 25 to Aug. 15 out of respect for a three-week mourning period leading up to Tisha B’Av, the date on the Jewish calendar marking the destruction of the biblical Temples. Tisha B’Av falls on Aug. 14.

Many of the 9,000 settlers being evacuated from their homes under the pullout plan are observant Jews.

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