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Archive for Monday, March 3, 2008

Palestinians suspend peace talks with Israel

March 3, 2008

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— The Palestinian president suspended peace talks Sunday as Israel brushed off international criticism and vowed to press ahead with its Gaza offensive until militants halt rocket attacks.

Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak said an even broader Gaza operation was possible, aimed at crushing militant rocket squads but also to "weaken the Hamas rule, in the right circumstances, even to bring it down."

The Palestinian death toll rose by 26, bringing the number killed to 114 since the latest bout of fighting erupted on Wednesday, according to Palestinian medical officials and militant groups. At least 54 Palestinians and two Israelis were killed on Saturday, the single deadliest day in more than seven years of fighting.

The Gaza onslaught has failed to protect southern Israel, where residents have faced repeated rocket attacks since 2001. Gaza militants fired more than 25 rockets at southern Israel Sunday, the military said, scoring direct hits on houses in the city of Ashkelon and the town of Sderot. Nine Israelis were injured, rescue services said.

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