Palestinians Cancel Meetings With Israel After West Bank Deaths

The Palestinians canceled peace talks with Israel scheduled for today, a Palestinian official said, after Israeli security forces shot dead three Palestinians during an arrest raid in a West Bank refugee camp.

Israeli security officials said forces opened fire after hundreds of Palestinians began rioting in the Qalandiya camp, some hurling firebombs and rocks. Voice of Palestine radio said three Palestinians were killed, including a 17-year-old.

“A large, violent crowd such as this, which significantly outnumbers security forces, leaves no other choice but to resort to live fire in self defense,” Israeli military spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Peter Lerner said in a statement.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’ office condemned what it called “assassinations,” the official Wafa news service reported. Abbas spokesman Nabil Abu Rudeina said the killings would hurt U.S.-brokered peace efforts, which resumed recently after a three-year breakdown.

The deadly incident led the Palestinians to cancel two meetings with the Israelis scheduled for today, another Palestinian official said later. He spoke anonymously because he was not authorized to speak on record.

A spokeswoman for Israeli chief negotiator and Justice Minister Tzipi Livni was not immediately available for comment.

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