Israel Kills Three Militants; Gaza Talks 'Progress'
Israel killed three Palestinian militants and a civilian bystander Friday in another swoop on the radical Hamas movement, again battering efforts to save a troubled Middle East peace plan. Palestinian officials said “remarkable progress” had been made in talks late Thursday on an Israeli army pullback from the Gaza Strip needed to foster a cease-fire. But Israel’s raid Friday raised the specter of revenge attacks by militants. The right-wing Israeli government’s persistent campaign to capture or kill militants it describes as “ticking bombs” have bedeviled attempts by the Palestinians’ new reformist leadership to coax radical factions into a cease-fire. Israel and the United States, main sponsor of the “road map” peace plan unfurled on June 4 but rapidly torn by bloodshed, say a truce is not enough and that armed groups must be dismantled to create a Palestinian state co-existing with Israel. Full Story