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Breaking: Helen Thomas Retires, Effective Immediately (Video)

While it may not be totally unexpected, the story appears to have developed extremely quickly.

Hearst Corporation has announced Helen Thomas will be retiring, effective immediately.

Here’s the full announcement from Hearst:

HELEN THOMAS ANNOUNCES RETIREMENT

WASHINGTON, June 7, 2010 – Helen Thomas announced Monday that she is retiring, effective immediately.

Her decision came after her controversial comments about Israel and the Palestinians were captured on videotape and widely disseminated on the Internet.

Thomas later issued a statement: “I deeply regret my comments I made last week regarding the Israelis and the Palestinians. They do not reflect my heart-felt belief that peace will come to the Middle East only when all parties recognize the need for mutual respect and tolerance. May that day come soon.’’

Thomas will mark her 90th birthday on Aug. 4.

Thomas was not in the briefing room today, when Press Secretary Robert Gibbs called her comments “offensive and reprehensible.”

Update: Video of FNC’s announcement:

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