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Report: Sharon would accept more CIA officials as monitors

Ariel Sharon
Ariel Sharon  

JERUSALEM (CNN) -- Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon reportedly said Monday that Israel was willing to accept an enlarged U.S. CIA contingent to monitor developments between Israelis and Palestinians.

Mideast violence, meanwhile, claimed two more lives Monday.

Israel Radio reported that Sharon made the CIA-related remarks before a Knesset committee.

CIA Director George Tenet brokered the current truce between Israelis and Palestinians.

Message Board: Mideast peace  
In Depth Special: Mideast struggle for peace  

CIA officials have been in the Middle East since October 1998 under the terms of the Wye River Memorandum.

That agreement set up security meetings between Israeli and Palestinian security officials. Those meetings are held under the auspices of the CIA and attended by CIA officials.

U.S. officials will not say how many CIA operatives are in the Middle East.

Sharon said terms would have to worked out, but he said Israel is willing to accept more CIA officials to carry out monitoring duties.

His remarks echo those made by Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres, who said on Israeli television Sunday that the government continues to oppose an international monitoring force but would not object to more Americans.

Palestinian Culture and Information Minister Yasser Abbed Rabbo said after a weekend meeting with U.S. envoy David Sutterfield that the United States wants to push forward on implementation of the Mitchell committee report on Middle East peace. He quoted Sutterfield as saying the United States wants to form a monitoring committee to supervise each step of the Mitchell process, answering to the countries that were represented on the Mitchell committee.

The Mitchell report calls for a cooling-off period to follow a cessation of violence between the two sides. Confidence-building measures -- including a crackdown on "terrorism" by the Palestinians and a freezing of "settlement activities" by the Israelis -- would follow the cooling-off period. The Mitchell report calls on the two sides to ultimately return to the negotiating table to work out a peace agreement.

The Mitchell committee -- an international, independent five-man group -- was headed by former U.S. Sen. George Mitchell.

Gunfire kills 2 in Gaza, West Bank

A 15-year-old Palestinian youth was killed by Israeli machine gun fire Monday in Gaza near Egypt, according to the Palestine Red Crescent Society.

Israeli army officials said they were checking into the incident.

A spokesman for the Israel Defense Forces said two hand grenades had been thrown at an army post in the area. No one was injured, but Israeli forces returned fire, an Israeli spokesman said.

In another incident, a Palestinian man, described as a "Jihad terrorist" by Israelis, was shot and killed by Israeli police, who said he resisted arrest and attempted to flee.

Mustafa Yassin, 28, had been named as an accomplice by a suspected would-be suicide bomber who was apprehended Sunday. The suspected bomber was stopped by Israeli police in Haifa on Sunday, and, during his interrogation, gave them information about several Islamic Jihad activists, police said.

Police then went to Yassin's home in Anin near Jenin in the West Bank.

• Israel Defense Forces
• Palestinian National Authority

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