Five Israelis were injured today when a bus traveling through the West Bank was fired on. The attack, which police blamed on Palestinians, comes two days before a major peace summit.
Israeli, Palestinian and U.S. leaders are to meet in Oslo on Monday to begin final status talks on the most thorny issues of the peace process.
Israeli opponents of Prime Minister Ehud Barak's efforts to revive the process will likely seize on the incident as proof of Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat's inability or unwillingness to control militant Palestinians.
The bus was traveling from the settlement Kiryat Arba when assailants opened fire near the Palestinian village Tarkumiya, police spokesman Rafi Yaffe said. Settlers said five people were injured, one seriously. No arrests were made.
The attack occurred near the safe passage land link that opened last week for Palestinians traveling between the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. The area where the shooting took place is controlled by Israel, Israel reported.
The Israelis on the bus, residents of towns inside Israel and not on the West Bank, attended an event in Kiryat Arba to show solidarity with settlers there.
Barak and Arafat are slated to open the final status talks in Oslo with President Clinton directing the ceremonies.
Barak took office in July and immediately renewed the peace process, which was largely frozen during the three years his predecessor, Binyamin Netanyahu, was in office. Barak has demanded that Palestinians fight anti-Israeli groups, but has taken a more moderate stance toward the Palestinians than did Netanyahu.