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Palestinians rally for prisoners as peace talks falter

Palestinians gathered across the West Bank and Gaza on Thursday for rallies of solidarity with Israeli-held prisoners, as peace talks near collapse after the Jewish state refused to free long-serving inmates. To mark Prisoners Day, thousands were expected to demonstrate in the West Bank city of Ramallah, where Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas has his headquarters, and hundreds took part in early rallies in the Hamas-run Gaza Strip late Wednesday.

Israel, Palestinian peace meet postponed after killing

A meeting between Israeli and Palestinian peace negotiators scheduled for Wednesday has been postponed, an official said, after a fatal shooting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu blamed on Palestinian leaders. But Palestinians said the postponement came at the behest of the Americans, and to give time for US envoy Martin Indyk to arrive in the region to attend. "The meeting that was planned for tonight between Israeli and Palestinian negotiating teams will not be taking place. It's being postponed," the Israeli official told AFP on condition of anonymity.

Israeli motorist killed in West Bank shooting: army

JERUSALEM (Reuters) - An Israeli man was killed in a shooting attack on a civilian car near the city of Hebron in the occupied West Bank on Monday, the eve of the Jewish holiday of Passover, military sources said. Israeli media reported the car was carrying a family to see relatives for the ritual Passover "seder" dinner. The incident could raise tensions at a time when the United States is struggling to keep troubled Middle East peace talks alive.

Israeli civilian killed in West Bank shooting

An Israeli civilian was killed and two wounded in a shooting near the southern West Bank city of Hebron on Monday, the army said. "Fire was opened at Israeli civilian vehicles on route 35, near Hebron, and we're conducting widespread searches for the perpetrators... an Israeli civilian was killed in the attack," an army spokeswoman told AFP. A separate army statement added that two other Israelis were also wounded. jad/hkb

Israeli civilian killed in West Bank shooting

An Israeli civilian was killed and two wounded in a shooting near the southern West Bank city of Hebron on Monday, the army said. "Fire was opened at Israeli civilian vehicles on route 35, near Hebron, and we're conducting widespread searches for the perpetrators... an Israeli civilian was killed in the attack," an army spokeswoman told AFP. A separate army statement added that two other Israelis were also wounded. jad/hkb

Gaza cops trade bullets for laser-tech in training

Security forces in the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip are using technology to practice shooting on laser simulators, saving money spent on ammunition in the cash-strapped Palestinian territory. In a converted gym, four uniformed officers aim at targets with Kalashnikov assault rifles converted to fire beams of laser light, whose path is recorded on a computer in a control room and monitored by an instructor. "Electronic shooting has great advantages," said Colonel Mohammed al-Nakhala, head of training in Gaza's National Security organisation.

Israeli, Palestinian negotiators meet on crisis-hit peace talks

Israeli and Palestinian negotiators met on Sunday in a fresh bid to save their teetering US-brokered peace talks, a Palestinian official said. Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erakat met in Jerusalem with his Israeli opposite number, Justice Minister Tzipi Livni, and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's special envoy Yitzhak Molcho, he told AFP. There was no immediate word from the Israeli side, which observes the seven-day Jewish holidays of Passover from sunset on Monday.

Jailed Palestinian militant starts, ends, hunger strike

A Palestinian militant jailed for life in an Israeli prison started a hunger strike against his solitary confinement Sunday then stopped when his demands were met, a prisoner support group said. The Ramallah-based Palestinian Prisoners' Club said earlier that former Hamas military leader Ibrahim Hamed had begun his protest and would be joined by about 200 other inmates. But early Sunday afternoon a spokeswoman for the club said the issue had been resolved and he was to be transferred to Nafha prison in southern Israel's Negev desert.

Jailed Palestinian militant starts hunger strike

An Islamic militant serving multiple life sentences in an Israeli prison has declared an open-ended hunger in protest at his solitary confinement, a Palestinian prisoner support group said on Sunday. The Ramallah-based Palestinian Prisoners' Club said that about 200 other Palestinians spread across several Israeli jails would fast in solidarity with former Hamas military leader Ibrahim Hamed, taking it in turns to each go without food for limited periods.

Israeli coalition partner threatens to quit over peace talks

By Ari Rabinovitch JERUSALEM (Reuters) - A key partner in Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's coalition threatened on Friday to pull out of the government if a deal to salvage peace talks with the Palestinians includes the release of Israeli-Arab prisoners. The ultimatum by Economy Minister Naftali Bennett, who heads the ultra-nationalist Jewish Home party, further complicates U.S. efforts to keep fraught negotiations from collapsing.
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