Palestinian sources say Israeli soldiers have killed three Palestinian militants at the Tulkarem refugee camp in the northern West Bank.

The militants were members of the al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigade - an offshoot the dominant Palestinian Fatah faction.

Friday's violence came one day after Palestinian Prime Minister Ahmed Qureia criticized a British proposal to host an international conference aimed at helping Palestinians prepare for possible future peace talks with Israel.

Mr. Qureia said he believes Palestinians already have the expertise to negotiate with Israel. He said what is needed is a full-fledged peace conference.

Mr. Blair, who has made reviving the Middle East peace process a priority, mentioned the conference proposal this week in talks with Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and Palestinian Liberation Organization chairman Mahmoud Abbas.

Some information for this report provided by AP and Reuters.