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Israeli-Palestinian Security Talks Continue

Israeli-Palestinian security talks are continuing, despite a deadly a suicide bombing and the failure of the two sides to reach any agreement during a Wednesday night session. The talks resumed shortly after Israeli troops raided three Palestinian villages near the West Bank town of Jenin in search of suspected terrorists.

The security talks continue amid increasing hopes a cease-fire will be achieved. One Palestinian official at the talks says the gaps are huge but not insurmountable.

One of the disputes is over the timing of the implementation, which requires the Palestinians to confiscate illegal weapons and stop militant attacks against Israeli civilians.

The renewed efforts for a truce came hours after a suicide bomber blew up a bus in northern Israel. Islamic Jihad claimed responsibility for the attack, which killed seven, including Israeli soldiers and the suicide bomber.

The attacks have terrorized Israelis. A survey published in an Israeli newspaper Thursday says 27 people have died since the start of this year in terrorist attacks in Jerusalem alone.

Last year, the report says there were 50 terror attacks, a 500 percent increase compared with the year 2000 before the Palestinian intifada erupted in late September of that year.

Israel's economy is suffering too. The latest survey says the drop in tourism alone has cost more than $2 billion in lost revenues.

On the Palestinian side, unemployment has soared since Israeli closures of the West Bank and Gaza have prevented hundreds of thousands of Palestinians from getting to their jobs in Israel.

Early Thursday, Israeli troops raided three Palestinian villages near the West Bank town of Jenin. The area is known as a stronghold of Palestinian militants. More than 20 people have been arrested.