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Bomb in Gaza Strip kills Palestinian, injures 2

JERUSALEM — JERUSALEM - A bomb exploded early yesterday near an Israeli military post in the southern Gaza Strip, killing one Palestinian but causing no Israeli casualties.

Despite a truce declared by three leading Palestinian factions June 29, daily violence persists, though at a much reduced level.

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Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas convened his Cabinet in Gaza City yesterday to discuss how to proceed with the Middle East peace plan. The Palestinian demands include the release of more than 5,000 prisoners seized by Israel during the 33 months of fighting, as well as those imprisoned before the latest round of bloodshed.

Israel has released about 300 Palestinians in recent weeks, and Avi Dichter, head of the Israeli Shin Bet security service, has drawn up a list of 100 more who could be freed soon, Israeli radio reported yesterday.

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Israeli and Palestinian officials have recently begun meeting regularly. Security commanders are expected to hold renewed talks today, and Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon are expected to see each other again this week, Palestinian officials said.

Yesterday's explosion occurred near the Sufa crossing point between Gaza and southern Israel. Three Palestinian men were apparently planting a bomb when it detonated, killing one and wounding two, Palestinian witnesses said.

Israeli troops pulled out of Palestinian areas in Gaza after the cease-fires were announced, but they still protect the crossing points into Israel and the 7,000 settlers who live in Gaza.

To shore up the cease-fire, Abbas met yesterday with Sheik Ahmed Yassin, spiritual leader of Hamas, the group that has carried out more suicide bombings than any other Palestinian faction. Hamas has agreed to a three-month truce, as has Islamic Jihad. Abbas' Fatah movement says it will observe a six-month halt to attacks.

The two men met in Yassin's home in Gaza City, but no details were available.

The Israeli army has reported about 20 shooting incidents since the truce was declared. No Israelis have been killed, though Palestinian gunmen shot and killed a Bulgarian worker on a West Bank road. Israeli soldiers have killed two Palestinian militants in the past week.


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