Know More About Palestine

Thursday Jan. 20, 2011 2:24 PM (EST+7)

JERUSALEM, Jan 20 (Reuters) - A Palestinian gunman opened fire at Israeli soldiers, who shot back and killed him, near a Jewish settlement in the West Bank on Thursday, a military spokeswoman said.

The incident seemed likely to fuel concern in Israel that Palestinian attacks against Israelis in the occupied West Bank, which have largely subsided in the past few years, could increase if peace talks remain frozen.

Peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians broke down last year over Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's refusal to impose new curbs on settlement building in the West Bank, part of the territories where the Palestinians aim to found a state.

White House Middle East aide Dennis Ross arrived in Israel on Thursday to discuss Israel's security needs in any future agreement with the Palestinians, a statement from Netanyahu's office said.

A man fired at Israeli soldiers at a guard post and they returned fire, killing him, the military spokeswoman said, adding that none of the troops was hurt.

She did not identify the dead man and there was no immediate claim of responsibility for the alleged attack on the soldiers near the Jewish settlement of Mevo Dotan, southwest of the Palestinian city of Jenin.

The incident raised to four the number of Palestinians killed by Israeli soldiers in the West Bank since the beginning of the year.

Two of the men were unarmed: one was killed when he approached a military checkpoint carrying a bottle and the other was shot dead in his bedroom by soldiers who raided the wrong house in an operation to arrest a militant.

Netanyahu has made security a key element in peace negotiations. He has said Israel must keep troops in the Jordan Valley, along any future eastern border of a Palestinian state, to guard against weapons smuggling.

Palestinian officials have rejected that demand. (Writing by Jeffrey Heller, Editing by Diana Abdallah)







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