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Palestinian Gunmen Attack Jewish Settlements - 2002-08-11

Palestinian gunmen have attacked Jewish settlements in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, killing one Israeli woman and wounding several others. The violence comes as the United States is engaging in new efforts to end nearly two years of bloodshed.

Palestinian gunmen opened fire Sunday near Dugit, a Jewish settlement in the northern Gaza Strip, wounding at least one person. Israeli troops sealed off the area and began searching for the attackers.

The incident came just hours after a Palestinian gunman infiltrated a Jewish settlement in the northern West Bank, killing an Israeli woman and wounding her husband and at least one other. During an ensuing gun-battle, Israeli soldiers shot dead the Palestinian man. The military wing of Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat's Fatah faction has claimed responsibility for the attack.

The violence erupted after the Palestinian Interior Minister, Abdel Razak Yehiyeh, held talks in Washington with the head of the Central Intelligence Agency, George Tenet, on a detailed plan to overhaul Palestinian security services. Mr. Yehiyeh is part of the highest-level Palestinian delegation to visit Washington since President George W. Bush called for Mr Arafat's removal.

The discussions have focused on proposals under which Israel would gradually pull-back its troops from areas of the West Bank and Gaza Strip. The Palestinian Authority would resume control over these areas and commit itself to preventing more attacks against Israeli citizens.