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Tuesday, 1 January, 2002, 10:26 GMT
US envoy returning to Mid-East
The United States is sending envoy Anthony Zinni back to the Middle East in an attempt to end more than 15 months of Israeli-Palestinian violence.

Mr Zinni left the region on 16 December after a three-week mission during which a wave of Palestinian suicide bomb attacks were launched inside Israel, leading to a series of Israeli reprisal strikes.

He will return on Thursday, a spokesman for the US embassy in Israel said.

His mission will be to ensure that Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat is keeping a tight rein on militants and to urge Israel to ease restrictions on the Palestinian territories.

The retired Marine Corps general will then urge the two sides to implement an internationally backed truce-to-talks plan, he said.

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