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Israeli Missile Strikes Kill Four Palestinians in Northern Gaza


Israel's foreign minister has told U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice that Israel's security must be ensured before it accepts the creation of a Palestinian state.

Tzipi Livni was speaking Sunday at a meeting with Rice in Jerusalem. The secretary of state is making her eighth visit to the region this year to try to help Israeli and Palestinian leaders prepare for a U.S.-sponsored Mideast peace conference.

Livni told Rice that, in her words, "nobody wants to see another terrorist state in the region."

Livni also says Israeli negotiators have had "problems" in meetings with Palestinian officials aimed at trying to narrow differences ahead of the conference. She did not elaborate.

The Palestinians want the planned conference to unveil a detailed document that addresses core issues in the Mideast conflict. The Israelis favor a general declaration of principles.

In other developments, Israeli police say they recently arrested three Arab residents of east Jerusalem on suspicion of planning attacks in the city. Police accused the three of plotting to smuggle an Islamic Jihad suicide bomber into Jerusalem to kill the city's Jewish mayor.

Meanwhile, Palestinian officials say Israeli air and ground attacks in the Gaza Strip killed four Palestinians Sunday.

Israel's military says an aircraft fired at three men in northern Gaza who had just launched rockets into southern Israel. Hamas officials say the three people killed in the air strike were civilians. Israeli forces also killed an Islamic Jihad militant in a separate attack in Gaza.

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

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