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Israeli Troops Kill 2 Unarmed Palestinians in Gaza - 2003-12-15

Israeli troops shot and killed two unarmed Palestinians as they approached a security fence in the Gaza Strip in an apparent bid to enter into Israel. The continuing violence follows efforts by visiting American envoy David Satterfield to try to revivie stalled peace efforts.

The military says soldiers shot at a group of six Palestinians who were trying to infiltrate into Israel from Gaza. They later found the bodies of two unarmed men, another was later apprehended inside Israel and three others are still being sought.

The military says it has yet to determine whether the men were trying to enter Israel to carry out an attack or to find work.

Meanwhile Israeli troops, backed by tanks, conducted a raid in the Khan Yunis refugee camp in Gaza. Witnesses said the army demolished a number of buildings. The army said the troops were sent to destroy sites used by Palestinian militants to fire mortar rounds at nearby Jewish settlement areas.

The violence follows talks Saturday and Sunday between U.S. envoy David Satterfield and Israeli and Palestinian officials to try to revive the stalled Roadmap Peace Plan. Mr. Satterfield called on both sides to take concrete steps to end their conflict.

The U.S. envoy was also trying to set up a summit meeting between Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and his Palestinian counterpart, Ahmed Qureia. No date or venue for such an encounter has been announced.

Another meeting between Israeli and Palestinian officials was scheduled for later Monday. A U.S. embassy spokesman said it would also include representatives from donor nations and organizations and would focus mainly on economic cooperation.