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Israel to Allow Some Palestinians From Gaza Into Israel


Israeli officials say they will allow Gaza Strip Palestinians trapped at a border crossing who need urgent medical treatment to enter Israel.

As many as several hundred Palestinians have been trapped at the Erez crossing since last week when Israel sealed the border after the Palestinian militant group Hamas seized control of Gaza.

Israel has also agreed to allow foreign nationals, including Russian and Ukrainian citizens to leave Gaza through the Erez crossing.

Meanwhile, the U.N. World Food Program sent nine more truckloads of aid into Gaza Wednesday.

The Israeli military says it carried out air strikes against two rocket launchers in Gaza. Earlier Wednesday in Gaza, Israeli troops killed four Palestinians in clashes that seriously wounded one Israeli soldier.

In other developments, Israel opened contacts Wednesday with the new Palestinian prime minister. Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni told Salam Fayyad that the formation of the new Palestinian government that does not include Hamas would allow for progress on various issues.

Israel refused contact with the Palestinian government headed by Hamas, which Israel and the United States consider a terrorist organization.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas dissolved the Hamas-led government after the militant group took control of the Gaza in deadly clashes with Mr. Abbas's Fatah faction.

In Washington Tuesday, President Bush and Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert pledged to bolster Mr. Abbas in his struggle with Hamas. His Fatah faction maintains control of the West Bank.

The Israeli military also says soldiers killed two Palestinian militants during a raid in the West Bank Wednesday. Fifteen other wanted Palestinians were arrested overnight in the West Bank.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.

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