Sharon Will Talk With Palestinians

JERUSALEM?An Israeli helicopter missile killed a senior member of the Palestinian militant group Hamas Wednesday, and Israeli troops gunned down five other militants, including two plotting to ambush settlers.

Despite the violence, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon said Israel was ready to negotiate with the Palestinians.

“We are ready to negotiate. Myself, I am going to lead those negotiations. I really believe in that,” Sharon told members of the World Jewish Congress meeting in Jerusalem.

Sharon has previously insisted on an end to violence before negotiations start, but he did not mention that condition Wednesday.

The Palestinians said they were ready to talk, but dismissed Sharon’s remarks.

“This man has not shown any signal aiming to achieve peace,” said Palestinian Cabinet Minister Nabil Shaath.