Guerrillas kill Israeli hikers

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Jerusalem (Reuter) - Palestinian guerrillas shot and stabbed to death two Israeli men hiking in a nature reserve in the Israeli-occupied West Bank yesterday.

Major-General Ilan Biran, the Israeli commander of the region, said the killers were probably from the Islamic militant group Hamas or another group opposed to the peace process. Security sources said the two Israelis were in their twenties and were on a holiday hike in the Wadi Kelt nature reserve near Jersualem.

The killings occurred a week before the deadline for Israeli-PLO negotiators to reach an agreement on expanding 14-month-old Palestinian self-rule in the West Bank beyond Gaza and Jericho.

No group has claimed responsibility but Maj-Gen Biran said the killers will be caught.