At least five Palestinians and three Israelis have been killed in a new surge of violence that is threatening international peace efforts. Two Palestinian gunmen infiltrated the Jewish settlement of Karmei Tzur near the West Bank city of Hebron.
The gunmen opened fire on a cluster of trailers, killing an Israeli man and his pregnant wife while they slept in their bed. Another Jewish settler died of wounds he received during the attack.
A security guard shot and killed one of the gunmen and the second escaped.
Shortly after the attack, Israeli troops raided the nearby Palestinian towns of Halhul and Beit Ummar, going door-to-door and rounding up Palestinians for interrogation. Palestinians said one man was killed during the operation.
At the Sufa crossing in the southern Gaza Strip Israeli soldiers discovered the bodies of two Palestinians apparently killed by an explosion near the electronic fence that separates the area from Israel.
An Israeli naval unit fired on two other Palestinians as they attempted to swim ashore near the northern Gaza settlement of Dugit. The body of one man was recovered along with automatic weapons, ammunition and hand grenades.
Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Arye Mekel said the violence is threatening U.S. led international peace efforts to bring an end to the bloodshed and revive peace talks. "We saw again last night that the Palestinians are determined not only to kill as many Jews and as many Israelis as they possibly can, but also to make every effort to disrupt any possible chance for the resumption of the peace process," he said.
Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon is scheduled to meet President Bush at the White House on Monday.
Mr. Sharon delayed his departure after a suicide bombing earlier this week killed 17 Israelis, including 13 soldiers, on a bus in northern Israel.
When he meets with President Bush, the Israeli prime minister is expected to renew his argument that Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat should be sidelined from the peace process.
U.S. officials have resisted previous appeals by Mr. Sharon to exclude Mr. Arafat, saying he remains the legitimate leader of the Palestinian people.