Middle East peace talks suspended

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The Independent Online

Palestinians found the bodies of two Israelis today in a West Bank area under Israeli control, throwing doubt on Israel-Palestinian peace negotiations. Palestinian officials, insisting on anonymity, said the two were kidnapped and killed.

Palestinians found the bodies of two Israelis today in a West Bank area under Israeli control, throwing doubt on Israel-Palestinian peace negotiations. Palestinian officials, insisting on anonymity, said the two were kidnapped and killed.

The Israeli military said it was checking the report. Israeli police spokesman Rafi Yaffe said Palestinians believed the two were Israeli Jews. Police and army officials said they were civilians.

Israeli negotiators engaged in marathon peace talks with Palestinians in the Egyptian resort of Taba were discussing the incident in internal consultations, Israeli officials said.

Recalling his peace talks team, Barakÿs office said he Òordered Israeli government ministers in Taba to return immediately for consultations in Jerusalem. During the consultations there will be no talks at any level.Ó

A senior Palestinian security official said the two Israelis approached the Palestinian town of Tulkarem, accompanied by an Arab with Israeli citizenship. The town is near Israel's border with the West Bank.

The men were abducted by armed men and killed in the West Bank, the Palestinian official said. Israel radio said the bodies were found near the Nur Shams Palestinian refugee camp next to Tulkarem.

Police and army officials said that the two were restaurant owners from the Tel Aviv area who were eating a meal in a Palestinian restaurant when they were killed.

The bodies were found outside the town and turned over to the District Coordination Office, where Israeli and Palestinian military officers jointly administer their areas.

Police said the Israeli Arab was arrested and was being questioned. They said it appeared that the Israeli Arab was not involved in the killing.

Israel radio said the bodies were turned over to the Israelis, who were starting identification procedures.

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