Car blast kills five Palestinian militants
RAFAH, Gaza (CNN) -- Five members of a Palestinian militant group died Monday when their car exploded near Rafah in southern Gaza, Palestinian security sources said.
According to Israel Radio, eyewitnesses said an Israeli aircraft was observed in the area at the time of the blast.
The Palestinian Authority said the car was "attacked and shelled" by Israeli forces. There was no immediate comment from the Israel Defense Forces.
The five Palestinians killed were identified as Majed Abu-Moamer, Nasser Abu-Moamer, Ibrahim Jarbou, and Ayman Al-Bohdary and Nasser Abu-Adrah, all members of the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine.
Meanwhile, Israeli Army Radio reported that Arab youths and border police troops clashed Monday after the demolition of two Arab-owned houses in East Jerusalem. Police used stun grenades and tear gas to disperse rioters, the report said.
The latest incidents came as diplomatic activity continued among Israel, the Palestinians and the United States ahead of the scheduled meeting Thursday of Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and President Bush.
Sharon met last week with Ahmad Qorei, speaker of the Palestinian Legislative Council, and Mohammed Rashid, Palestinian Authority President Yasser Arafat's economic adviser. Foreign Minister Shimon Peres also held talks with Qorei.
A spokesman said additional meetings between Sharon and the Palestinians would be held in the future.
U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell met Qorei and Rashid in Washington on Monday and reiterated the U.S. message that Arafat "has the responsibility right now to reduce violence and terror," said State Department deputy spokesman Phil Reeker.
The meeting marked the first time Powell had met with any Palestinian officials since November.
State Department officials said the discussions touched upon how Israel should ease the closures of Palestinian territories and improve the economic situation for Palestinians once Arafat took steps to reduce the violence.
-- State Department Correspondent Andrea Koppel and producer Elise Labott contributed to this report.
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Palestinians confirm Sharon talks
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Palestinian Ministry of Information
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