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Three Palestinians Die in Car Bomb

Three Palestinians were killed Sunday when their explosives-laden car blew up next to an Israeli army position in the Gaza Strip. Authorities said the Palestinians drove toward an Israeli army outpost near the Gush Katif junction shortly before noon, and opened fire on the soldiers. The explosives inside their car were detonated, killing all three.

Following the blast, at least four soldiers were also reported to be suffering from shock and taken to a hospital for treatment.

Authorities said the Palestinians had come from the direction of Khan Younis, in the southern Gaza Strip. This is an area from which Israel claims militant groups have launched frequent attacks against the nearby Gush Katif bloc of Jewish settlements and the military garrisons that surround them.

Earlier Sunday, a roadside bomb exploded alongside soldiers patrolling the Kissufim junction, in another part of the Gaza Strip.

And in the West Bank, Israeli forces arrested a Palestinian in a refugee camp near the city of Nablus, on suspicion that he was planning a suicide bombing.

The Israeli army on Saturday also demolished the homes of 10 Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Human rights groups have condemned the practice, saying it is a form of collective punishment.

Israel claims that this policy is aimed at the families of suspected Palestinian terrorists and is intended to discourage others from carrying out suicide bombings and other attacks.

Despite the continuing hostilities between the two sides, Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon last week renewed direct contacts with senior Palestinian officials for the first time in nearly a year.

More talks are expected Monday between Israeli and Palestinian negotiators on a proposed cease-fire to end more than two years of bloodshed.