JERUSALEM (AP) -- Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon returned from Washington early Friday as the United States embarked on a diplomatic effort to stop two years of Palestinian-Israeli violence and move toward peace.
In the West Bank, Israeli troops pulled out of Jenin, the Palestinian governor said, surrounding the town and digging a 6-foot-wide trench in flatlands to the west to keep vehicles from sneaking in and out.
The governor, Khaider Irshaid, told The Associated Press on Friday that the military informed him a curfew no longer would be enforced in Jenin. He said soldiers pulled out of the town but were surrounding it, keeping people from entering or leaving.
The military had no immediate comment, but a statement listed Jenin among five towns where a curfew would not be enforced Friday.
Israeli troops entered the towns in mid-June in response to two suicide bombings in Jerusalem, imposing curfews and banning travel.
In the Gaza Strip, an armed militant was killed near a Jewish settlement early Friday, a day after six Palestinians died when Israeli tanks shells crashed into a neighborhood during a clash.
Islamic Hamas said one of its men tried to attack a settlement and was killed. The Israeli military said troops shot an attacker who was firing a rifle and throwing grenades at soldiers near the settlement of Dugit in the northern Gaza Strip. Two soldiers were slightly wounded in an explosion, the military said.
In the southern Gaza Strip, Palestinians pelted a Jewish settlement with mortars overnight after six people were killed Thursday in nearby Rafah during a clash between armed Palestinians and Israeli soldiers along the Egyptian border.
Palestinians said all six were civilians, including two children and two women, killed when shells slammed into a crowded part of the Rafah refugee camp. Though Palestinian officials said eight were killed, there was no evidence of two more victims.
The Israeli military said soldiers returned fire toward gunmen taking cover in the camp, where they aimed rockets at an army bulldozer, damaging it. Israel expressed regret for the civilian casualties but blamed the militants for operating from civilian areas.
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