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Archive for Monday, October 31, 2005

Palestinians, Israelis agree to halt violence

October 31, 2005

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— Israel and the Palestinians agreed Sunday to halt their latest round of rocket attacks and airstrikes, officials said, but the deal threatened to fall through when Israeli forces killed three Islamic Jihad militants in the West Bank.

Israeli forces circled a house in the West Bank town of Qabatiyeh after sundown Sunday and killed Jihad Zakarne, an Islamic Jihad member accused by Israel of planning a deadly suicide bombing last week, and another militant, witnesses and Palestinian security officials said.

Israel Radio reported Israeli troops killed a third Palestinian who was planting a bomb nearby. The Israeli military had no comment.

Islamic Jihad responded with a statement threatening to hit Israeli towns near Gaza and called on "Palestinian factions to be united to confront the Zionist campaign against the Islamic Jihad and the Palestinian people in the West Bank."

It was just such an escalation that the informal agreement was designed to stop.

Militant groups planned a meeting late Sunday at an undisclosed location, where they were expected to endorse the latest truce, but the Israeli operation in the West Bank put that in doubt.

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