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Jewish settlers slain in West Bank

Palestinian gunmen killed four Jewish settlers Friday in an ambush of two cars in the southern West Bank, Israeli authorities said. The dead included a couple and one of their children.

A militia affiliated with Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat's Fatah movement reportedly claimed responsibility for the shootings south of the West Bank city of Hebron. All major militant Palestinian factions have vowed to avenge Israel's killing earlier this week of 15 Gazans, including nine children and a Hamas military commander.

Retaliation began quickly, with the killing Thursday of a rabbi from a Jewish settlement, and then Friday's attack.

Two or three gunmen opened fire on a white station wagon carrying a family of Jewish settlers en route to the settlement of Maon to spend the Sabbath, authorities said. The car's occupants included a couple and their four children, whose names were unavailable.

The two adults and one child, reported to be about 14, were killed and the other children were injured.

The gunmen continued firing and hit a second car, killing another settler and wounding his companion. Israeli authorities said the gunmen apparently escaped into the Palestinian village of Yatta, where the army late Friday was searching for them.

Reacting to the attack, Israel accused the Palestinians of targeting civilians. "No people can be expected to tolerate this terror, and Israel will certainly not do so," said a statement from the office of Prime Minister Ariel Sharon.

Earlier Friday, Israeli forces briefly invaded Gaza City and blew up two metalworks factories that the army said were being used to produce rockets that militants frequently fire on Jewish settlements in the Gaza Strip.

The owners of the two workshops denied military equipment was being fabricated at their businesses.

Also Friday, Israeli troops conducting house-to-house searches fatally shot a Palestinian man as he stood in his kitchen in the West Bank city of Kalkilya, according to Palestinian officials.

Jesse Jackson plans Middle East peace mission

CHICAGO _ The Rev. Jesse Jackson said Friday that he will meet with Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat and Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres next week in an effort to bring peace to the Middle East.

Jackson said he and seven other religious leaders will arrive in Jerusalem today. The delegation also hopes to meet with Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon.

State Department spokesman Frederick Jones said Jackson is "free to travel as he chooses."

_ Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.

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