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Palestinian Gunmen Kill 2 Israelis, Hurt 4

June 08, 2002|From Times Wire Services

JERUSALEM — Two Palestinian gunmen infiltrated a Jewish settlement in the West Bank and killed at least two Israelis early today, officials said, hours after armored units moved into Jenin, enforcing a curfew on the 40,000 residents of the Palestinian city.

An army spokeswoman said that armed settlers shot dead one of the gunmen in the Karmei Tzur settlement just north of Hebron and that Israeli troops were searching for a second attacker, who escaped.

Four Israelis were wounded in the attack on the settlement, including two in serious condition, said Yeruham Mendola, spokesman for the Magen David Adom rescue service. He said the attackers sneaked into the settlement sometime after 2 a.m.

On Friday, Palestinian Authority President Yasser Arafat complained that Israel is waging a "dirty war" with its continued military strikes, which come in reprisal for attacks on Israelis.

Israel says that Arafat is to blame for continued terrorist attacks and that he has done nothing to prevent shootings and bombings by Palestinian extremists.

A senior Israeli official said Friday that Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, who is heading to Washington this weekend to discuss new ideas for ending the conflict with Palestinians, will not commit to any plans until attacks on Israeli citizens stop.

The purpose of Sharon's trip is to offer suggestions on the United States' emerging Mideast peace plan, expected to be unveiled in coming days, said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

In Washington, President Bush said Friday that he was optimistic that talks with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, which were scheduled to continue today, and a meeting with Sharon set for Monday will be fruitful.

"After my meetings ... I'll talk to our country about how I believe we should move forward," Bush said.

In what Israel says are continuing responses to Palestinian attacks on civilians, about 20 armored vehicles rolled into the West Bank city of Jenin on Friday.

Jenin is the hometown of a 17-year-old Islamic extremist who killed himself and 17 Israelis in a suicide bombing this week, and a refugee camp there was the site of bitter fighting during the Israelis' five-week incursion into the West Bank this spring.

On Friday, soldiers declared a curfew, confining residents to their homes.

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