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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

PLO Agrees To Help Stop Attacks

JERUSALEM -- Palestinian President Yasser Arafat agreed in a meeting with the head of Israel's Shin Bet security service and a senior CIA official to help Israel in preventing suicide attacks by Islamic militants, a senior Shin Bet official said Thursday.


Palestinian security forces already helped foil one such attack in recent days, the official said.


The meeting, held at U.S. prodding, was a step forward toward resuming peace talks cut off last month over Israel's decision to build a Jewish neighborhood in east Jerusalem, the sector the Palestinians claim as a capital.


The Jerusalem construction triggered three weeks of daily Palestinian protests in the West Bank, and fresh violence erupted Thursday in the town of Hebron, with seven Palestinians injured.


Hundreds of Palestinians threw stones and firebombs at Israeli troops, who responded with rubber bullets.


As the clashes continued, U.S. mediation efforts moved forward slowly. Arafat deputy Mahmoud Abbas and the chief Palestinian negotiator, Saeb Erekat, were to meet with senior U.S. officials in Washington on Thursday to explain the Palestinian position.


The meeting between Arafat and the Shin Bet chief, Ami Ayalon, took place Tuesday night in Gaza City, in the presence of a senior CIA official whose name was not disclosed.


Ayalon asked the Palestinian leader to help Israel prevent suicide bombings, warning that one more such attack could collapse the peace process, said a senior Shin Bet official who spoke on condition of anonymity.


In a suicide bombing March 21, an Islamic militant blew himself up in a Tel Aviv cafe, killing himself and three Israeli women. Arafat agreed to the Israeli request, said the Shin Bet official. He noted that the Palestinian Authority has already foiled one suicide attack since the Tel Aviv bombing.


Palestinian officials confirmed the meeting took place, and hinted the Palestinians were responsive to the Israeli request.


"We, as Palestinians, continue to implement on the ground whatever our duties are according to the agreements," said a Palestinian security official who spoke on condition of anonymity.