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Arab-Israeli Conflict Claims 5 More Lives - 2002-02-27

Israeli troops Wednesday shot and killed three armed Palestinians who were attempting to infiltrate the Jewish State from Egypt. At the same time, a Palestinian factory worker shot and killed his Israeli boss and a Jewish teenage girl died of wounds sustained in a suicide bombing attack.

Israeli soldiers killed three Palestinians who had apparently crossed from Egypt into the southern Negev desert.

A patrol of Israeli army trackers discovered the infiltration, which took place southwest of the town of Mitzpe Ramon. When the trackers began chasing the men, a gun battle erupted.

Two Israeli soldiers were wounded during the exchange of fire. All the Palestinians had automatic assault rifles and one reportedly also had a bomb strapped to his body.

The infiltration came as a 16-year-old Israeli girl died from wounds she had sustained in a suicide bombing inside a Jewish settlement in the West Bank 10 days ago.

In a separate incident on Wednesday, the Israeli manager of a coffee factory, in an industrial zone in the West Bank, was shot dead by a Palestinian employee, who then reportedly escaped to the Palestinian-ruled town of Ramallah.

An armed wing of Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat's Fatah faction has claimed responsibility for the killing.

The latest violence came despite the renewal of talks between Israeli and Palestinian security chiefs, who met in the presence of a representative of the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency.

The meeting was meant to find ways to end the clashes that have raged for 17 months, leaving more than 1,000 people dead and thousands more injured.