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Israel Retaliates After Palestinian Gunman Kills 3 - 2002-02-07


Israeli warplanes have attacked a Palestinian Authority building in the West Bank. The attacks came hours after a Palestinian gunman killed three Israelis at a Jewish settlement in the Jordan Valley.

Late Wednesday night, a Palestinian gunman killed three Israelis at a Jewish settlement in the Jordan Valley.

The gunman, who was wearing an Israeli military uniform, entered a home in the settlement and shot dead a 45-year-old mother and her disabled 11-year-old daughter.

The gunman also managed to kill an Israeli soldier before being shot dead himself by Israeli security forces at the Hamra settlement, a few kilometers from the border with Jordan.

Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon who is scheduled to met with President Bush at the White House Thursday, said he held Palestinian Authority leader Yasser Arafat responsible for the killings.

The raid sparked a retaliatory strike by Israeli warplanes against a Palestinian Authority building in the West Bank city of Nablus that wounded 11 people.

The latest round of fighting comes just one week after Mr. Sharon, for the first time since becoming prime minister, held face-to-face meetings with three senior Palestinian officials on the need to reach a cease-fire to end the violence between Israelis and Palestinians.

More than 1,000 people have been killed and thousands more wounded in the clashes.

In his meeting with Mr. Bush, the Israeli leader is expected to ask the U.S. president to refuse to have any diplomatic contact with the Palestinian leader until he agrees to halt all attacks against Israelis.

But the Palestinian Authority has warned the Bush administration not to accede to Israel's demand, saying it would lead to America's isolation in the Middle East.

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