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Palestinian Gunman Shoots Dead One Person in Jerusalem - 2002-07-09

Israeli police said a Palestinian gunman opened fire just outside the Old City in Jerusalem on Tuesday, killing a bystander and wounding a police officer.

Police in Jerusalem said a 55-year-old Arab man has been killed and an Israeli policeman wounded in east Jerusalem by a Palestinian gunman who opened fire near a gate that leads to the Old City.

Police have sealed off the area and have begun a search for the shooter. Despite 22 months of violence that have claimed the lives of nearly 1,500 Palestinians and more than 500 Israelis, shootings in Jerusalem are rare.

Earlier, Palestinian sources said a special unit of the Israeli army killed a leading member of the militant group Islamic Jihad. They said Moammar Daraghmah was killed as he drove through a village some 10 kilometers from the city of Jenin.

Israeli military officials said they are investigating. Israel has carried out similar actions in the past against Palestinians wanted for attacks against Israelis.

In another development, Israeli police closed the offices of the president of the Palestinian Al-Quds University in east Jerusalem. Israel's public security ministry said the offices were closed because they were being used for Palestinian Authority business, which is not permitted under Israeli-Palestinian agreements.

These developments come as Israeli and Palestinian officials begin a series of face-to-face meetings, the first they have held in months.

Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres met several times on Monday and Tuesday with senior officials from the Palestinian Authority. Few details have emerged from the talks, but both sides have indicated that additional meetings are scheduled.

Israeli officials say Prime Minister Ariel Sharon agreed to the meetings with the understanding that Mr. Peres would limit his meetings to discussing humanitarian issues and cracking down on terrorism. But Mr. Peres indicated that a wide range of subjects are under discussion.