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No Cease-Fire Reached, say Palestinian Militants - 2003-06-26


An Israeli was killed in a shooting attack Thursday morning in a village that straddles the so-called Green Line separating the West Bank and Israel. The shooting comes as Palestinian militant groups deny reports they have reached an agreement to temporarily halt attacks on Israelis.

Israel's Army Radio said the gunman walked up to the vehicle and opened fire, killing one of the occupants, an employee of Bezeq the Israeli telephone company. One of the bodyguards traveling in the vehicle returned fire, wounding the gunman who was later captured by Israeli police.

The shooting took place in Baka al-Garbiyeh, a small village that sits astride the boundary separating the West Bank and Israel.

Earlier, two rockets were fired from the Gaza Strip into the Israeli town of Sderot but did not explode. Five mortar rounds were also fired overnight into the Gush Katif settlement in the Gaza Strip but caused no injuries.

The Palestinian militant group Hamas has vowed to avenge an Israel helicopter attack Wednesday in the Gaza city of Khan Younis which killed two people.

Israel says the strike was aimed at militants on their way to attack an Israeli settlement. Palestinians said the dead were innocent bystanders walking past the two vehicles that were struck by missiles fired from the helicopter.

Meanwhile, Palestinian militant groups are denying reports they have reached a deal with the Palestinian Authority on halting attacks against Israel. Hamas officials say their organization, along with Islamic Jihad and Fatah, are discussing the ceasefire with Palestinian officials but have not yet reached an agreement. Palestinian sources were quoted Wednesday as saying the three organizations had signed a ceasefire document in Damascus, Syria.

Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas has been trying for weeks to persuade militant groups to halt attacks against Israelis in order to give the so-called road map peace plan a chance to take hold.

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