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Violence Erupts in West Bank - 2003-05-06

Palestinian gunmen have shot dead one Israeli and wounded two others, including a child, in an ambush in the West Bank. The attack, overnight Monday, came just hours after visiting U.S. envoy William Burns urged top Palestinian officials to crack down on terrorism.

Israeli security forces are still searching for the Palestinian gunmen who ambushed a car in the West Bank, killing the driver, a 27 year-old man. His six year-old daughter, and another passenger were also seriously injured in the attack. They were traveling towards a Jewish settlement in the West Bank, close to the Palestinian city of Ramallah, when their vehicle was struck by automatic rifle fire.

So far no Palestinian group has claimed responsibility for the shootings.

The attack came just hours after a visit to Ramallah by U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs, William Burns. He told senior Palestinian officials that they must make every effort to stop violence and terrorism against Israelis.

Mr. Burns said such action is necessary to ensure progress on the road map - a new international plan to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict by 2005.

The new Palestinian Prime Minister, Mahmoud Abbas, has said he wants to disarm all Palestinian groups, except the police. But terrorist groups have warned him not to try to interfere with their operations.

News of the deadly ambush, following Mr. Burn's visit, added another somber note as Israelis took part Tuesday in memorial services for Remembrance Day.

A siren rang out calling for a brief period of silence, as the nation saluted those who have died while serving in the army.

Since the founding of the Jewish State in 1948, the number of fallen soldiers has reached more than 21,000.

At sunset on Tuesday, the memorial services will give way to joyous celebrations marking Israel's 55th Independence Day.