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Gaza killing "a slap in the face" for peace

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Gaza killing "a slap in the face" for peace

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The Palestinian Authority has condemned Israel’s killing of at least 18 people in the Gaza Strip as a “slap in the face” for US President George W. Bush’s peace initiative. The leading Hamas figure Mahmoud al-Zahar was supported by other prominent members of the militant islamist group at the funeral of his son, one of 13 militants who died.

Al-Zahar linked the bloodshed to the American president’s recent visit to the Middle East, saying he encouraged the Israelis to kill Palestinians.

The violence comes a day after Israeli and Palestinian Authority negotiators began talks on the core issues sustaining the conflict.

There were scenes of chaos as bystanders rushed the dozens of wounded to hospital – but for some, it was simply too late.

In response to the Israeli crackdown, Hamas said it had fired 11 rockets at the Israeli border town of Sderot.

A volunteer working on a border kibbutz was also killed by a Palestinian sniper.