Suicide attack fails to derail truce talks

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Truce talks between Israel and the Palestinians staggered on yesterday, buffeted by the third suicide bomber in three days but one who this time claimed no lives other than his own.

The al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, linked to Fatah, claimed responsibility for yesterday's bombing at an Israeli military checkpoint in the West Bank, north of Jenin. An Israeli officer was wounded.

Despite the latest attacks, in which 10 Israelis have been murdered since Tuesday, three hours of truce talks were held yesterday, mediated by the American envoy General Anthony Zinni.

Earlier General Zinni met the Palestinian leader, Yasser Arafat, and told him that he had not done enough to prevent attacks on Israelis. During a photography session at the start of the talks the tension between the men was apparent, and neither tried to hide it.

Mr Arafat is under pressure to implement the so-called Tenet agreement, a set of security measures intended to lay the ground for a lasting ceasefire. If he does so, the US Vice-President, Dick Cheney, has said he will meet him – an encounter rumoured to be set to take place in Cairo on Monday.

The White House said yesterday that the attacks against Israel meant the conditions for an Arafat-Cheney meeting had not been met.