Deaths cast pall on start of Israel-PLO talks

Four Israelis were shot dead in a settlement in what the police are calling an "obvious" terrorist attack on the eve of renewed negotiations for peace in Washington.

HEBRON // Four Israelis were shot dead near the West Bank Jewish settlement of Kyriat Arba on Tuesday, just ahead of renewed peace talks, in what police said was a "terrorist attack". Police spokesman Mickey Rosenfeld said a car in which they were travelling came under fire on a road between Kiryat Arba and the Palestinian village of Bani Naim, near the city of Hebron. "Obviously it was terrorist attack," he said. Rescue services said the victims were a man and woman around 40 years old and another man and woman in their twenties. The military said one of the women was pregnant. It was the first fatal attack on Israelis in the West Bank since June 14, when a policeman was killed and two others wounded, also in the Hebron area. At the time of the shooting, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was on his way to Washington for a meeting with Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas to renew direct peace talks after a 20-month hiatus. * Agence France-Presse