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Israeli PM Freezes All Contact with Palestinians Following Militant Attack


The Israeli government has cut all ties with the new Palestinian president-elect until he curbs attacks against Israel. The move comes a day after an attack by Palestinian militants on a Gaza border crossing.

Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon on Friday ordered all government officials to end contacts with the Palestinian authority.

A government spokesman said the ban will remain until incoming Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas cracks down on militant factions.

On Thursday, Palestinian militants launched a coordinated bombing and ground assault on a border crossing in Gaza that killed six Israelis.

The attack was seen as serious challenge to Mr. Abbas, who has called for an end to violence and a resumption of peace talks with Israel.

The new Palestinian leader, due to be officially sworn in Saturday, has condemned the killings. His aides say the Israeli move unfairly punishes him before he even takes office.

Mr. Abbas' election last Sunday was widely hailed as a positive step toward improving ties with Israel. He spoke with Prime Minister Sharon earlier this week and the two had been expected to meet in just a few days.

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