Israeli troops shoot dead three Palestinians as talks continue

US-brokered talks resumed last month after a three-year stalemate


Israeli troops shot dead three Palestinians during an early morning raid to arrest a suspected militant in the West Bank today, hours before negotiators met for another round of peace talks, Palestinian sources said.

The US-brokered talks resumed last month after a three-year stalemate over Israeli settlement expansion in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, areas Israel captured in 1967 which Palestinians seek for a state along with the Gaza Strip. Neither party has expressed much optimism for a major breakthrough and the negotiators have met largely in secret, alternating between Israeli and Palestinian locations.

No details were revealed on the talks. Witnesses said Israeli armoured jeeps entered the Qalandiya refugee camp, near Jerusalem, at around 3am and were met by stone-throwing residents.

The Israeli forces responded with gunfire and left the camp around daybreak, the witnesses added.

Hospital officials said three men were shot dead. An Israeli police spokesman said a clash erupted when border police carrying out an arrest raid were confronted by Palestinians who threw firebombs and rocks at them.

The incident was being investigated, spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said. Israeli forces arrested a local man who had previously served a nine-year prison sentence for alleged militant activity, residents said.

About a dozen protesters were wounded in the clash, they added. Israeli troops often enter Palestinian-controlled territory to detain people suspected of planning attacks, usually conducting the raids during darkness to minimise confrontation.