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Saturday, 14 July, 2001, 12:57 GMT 13:57 UK
US tries to revive Mid-East peace
Debris from car bomb that killed Fawwaz Badran
Wreckage from the bomb that killed Badran
An American envoy to the Middle East, David Satterfield, has been discussing ways of reviving the region's stalled peace process with the Palestinian leader, Yasser Arafat.

No details of the talks have emerged.

But there were angry scenes in the Palestinian territories, with thousands echoing a call for revenge against Israel at the funerals of two militants killed on Friday.

On Thursday, Mr Satterfield met a representative of Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon - his son Omri.

Hamas leader Sheikh Yassin
Hamas leader Sheikh Yassin
The meetings came as a Washington-brokered ceasefire appears to be near collapse.

Since it was agreed a month ago, more than 20 Palestinians and 12 Israelis have been killed in continued fighting.

The Israeli army said its soldiers returned fire overnight after Palestinians attacked military outposts on the Israeli-Egyptian border near Rafah, and at the Gush Katif Jewish settlement in the Gaza Strip.

Shots were also fired near Ramallah and Hebron, in the West Bank.

Revenge call

About 8,000 Palestinians joined a funeral procession for Fawwaz Badran, an activist in the Islamic militant group Hamas.

On Friday, Hamas called for revenge against Israel, whom they blame for Badran's death in a car bomb attack.

A settler in Hebron near the Jewish settlement of Kiryat Arba
A Jewish settler walks by burning debris in Hebron
Following the death of the Hamas activist, the senior Hamas leader in Gaza, Ismail Abu Shanab, told Reuters: "This is an assassination. This is a new crime... This incites us to more resistance, to more revenge because Israeli military arrogance does not stop except by power."

Hamas has been behind attacks that have killed scores of Israelis in recent years.

Deliberate targeting

Palestinian officials have accused Israel of assassinating at least 40 activists since the Palestinian uprising against Israeli occupation flared in the West Bank and Gaza Strip last September when peace talks stalled.

Israel has defended its decision to target those it believes are involved in "terrorist" attacks against its citizens.

The United States and UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan have urged Israel to end a policy which they say violates international law and threatens peace efforts.

Earlier this month, the Israeli cabinet reaffirmed its strategy of "active defence" against militants who planned or attempted to carry out attacks against Israelis.

Twenty-two Palestinians and 11 Israelis have died since the sides agreed to a US-brokered ceasefire on June 13.

At least 480 Palestinians, 125 Israelis and 13 Israeli Arabs have been killed since September.

See also:

13 Jul 01 | Middle East
Hamas vows revenge for 'assassination'
09 Jul 01 | Middle East
Suicide bomber dies in Gaza blast
08 Jul 01 | Middle East
Palestinian boy shot dead in Gaza
06 Jul 01 | Middle East
Sharon talks up Europe visit
04 Jul 01 | Middle East
Israel army given freer rein
02 Jul 01 | Middle East
Mid-East truce 'close to collapse'
27 Jun 01 | Middle East
Arabs want US to push Israel
10 Jul 01 | Middle East
US condemns 'provocative' Israel
11 Jul 01 | Middle East
Sharon's dilemma
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