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6 Reported Dead in Latest Mideast Violence - 2001-08-19

Palestinians say a Palestinian activist and his daughter and son were killed late Sunday in the Gaza Strip, and a Palestinian man was reported to have been shot dead in the West Bank town of Nablus.

Earlier, Israeli soldiers killed two Palestinians in separate incidents, as efforts continued to mediate an end to the violence. Israeli attack helicopters and tanks also fired on Palestinian security posts in the Gaza Strip.

Israeli soldiers shot a 14-year-old Palestinian stone-thrower in the southern Gaza Strip and, in a separate incident, killed a 38-year-old man in the West Bank.

In the first clash, Israeli troops opened fire on Palestinian youths throwing stones toward Israeli tanks in Rafah on the border between Egypt and the Gaza Strip.

The second killing occurred when Israeli soldiers shot at a group of Palestinians who were trying to by-pass a military checkpoint near the West Bank city of Nablus. Palestinian hospital officials say the victim had been out shopping for schoolbooks for his children.

The Israeli Army had no immediate comment and said they were still investigating the shootings.

Israeli attack helicopters also fired missiles at an outpost of Force 17, an elite Palestinian security unit, in Khan Younis in the Gaza Strip. The outpost was unoccupied at the time of the strike.

An Israeli army spokeswoman says the air offensive was in response to a Palestinian mortar attack on a Jewish settlement in the territory.

Earlier, Israeli tanks bombarded a Palestinian police station near the source of the mortar attack. Three policemen were injured and the outpost was destroyed.

Heavy clashes were also reported in the West Bank city of Hebron between Israeli troops and Palestinian gunmen.

The fighting raged despite new efforts by Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres to reinstate a cease-fire to end 11 months of bloodshed that has left nearly 700 people dead.

Mr. Peres says that he expects to meet soon with Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat in the hope that the two sides can negotiate an end to the violence. But Palestinian cabinet ministers said that talks are unlikely to produce a diplomatic breakthrough.

Palestinian Cabinet Minister Yasser Abed Rabbo accused Mr. Peres of using his reputation as a world statesmen as a cover for what he called the Israeli army's "atrocities against the Palestinian people."