Secretary of State Colin Powell says the United States is committed to helping revive stalled peace talks between Israelis and Palestinians.
Mr. Powell arrived in Israel today (Sunday) for talks following the death of Palestinian president Yasser Arafat. Mr. Powell told reporters he will lobby both sides to give the maximum number of Palestinians the chance to vote in the January election for Mr. Arafat's successor.
Israeli newspapers say Mr. Powell is expected to urge Israel to withdraw troops from Palestinian areas to improve access to the polls.
Meanwhile, there are reports that Israeli soldiers have killed three Palestinian fighters in a shootout in the West Bank. In the Gaza Strip, Israeli troops shot and killed an armed Palestinian who had tried to attack Jewish settlers.
Information for this report is provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.