10 die in Palestine

Israeli troops killed 10 Palestinians, including seven Hamas militants and three civilians, on the fourth day of an Israeli offensive against Palestinian rocket squads in and around the northern Gaza border town of Beit Hanoun.

Israeli troops killed 10 Palestinians, including seven Hamas militants and three civilians, on the fourth day of an Israeli offensive against Palestinian rocket squads in and around the northern Gaza border town of Beit Hanoun.

A municipal official said the town's electricity had been cut and that water was in short supply after Saturday's attack.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas appealed for UN intervention to stop the Israeli operation.

Despite the fighting, Palestinian negotiators at the weekend said they were close to agreement on forming a new government they hope will be acceptable to the West and end an international freeze on aid to the cash-strapped Palestinian Authority.

The Hamas government of Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh is shunned by the international community for its refusal to recognise Israel and renounce violence.

Officials close to Abbas and Haniyeh said the new government's programme, the key sticking point in the past, would be intentionally vague, including on possible recognition of Israel. - Sapa-AP

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