The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Israelis kill militant, anger Palestinians

Qalqilya (West Bank), July 3 (Reuters): Israeli troops shot dead a militant and temporarily blocked Palestinian traffic on Gaza’s main road today, angering Palestinians who assailed the actions as a threat to US peacemaking.

The killing in the West Bank — and the road closure only three days after the long-blocked highway was reopened — followed attacks by Palestinian militants, Israel said.

Palestinian lawmaker Saeb Erekat called for more US intervention before the peace plan — known as the road map — collapses, saying: “Israel until now has not declared a full cessation of violence as stated in the road map.”

Hours earlier, President George W. Bush praised Israel’s pullback from Bethlehem, the Palestinian West Bank town revered by Christians as the birthplace of Jesus, and Spain and Italy offered to host a peace conference called for by the plan.

In Gaza today, an Israeli bulldozer placed cement barriers on the north-south highway to block Palestinian traffic for almost six hours. On Monday, Israel raised peace hopes by clearing the way to Palestinians for the first time in two-and-a-half years.

An Israeli military source said the highway closure followed the firing of an anti-tank missile that wounded three Israelis at the Kfar Darom Jewish settlement in Gaza overnight.

In the West Bank, Palestinian security sources said Israeli soldiers killed a member of the al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades linked to Palestinian President Yasser Arafat’s Fatah faction in the town of Qalqilya.

The Israeli army said its troops shot dead an armed Palestinian during an arrest raid.

Israel withdrew from most of the Gaza Strip this week and the leading Palestinian militant groups declared a ceasefire.

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