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Israelis, Palestinians mark one month of clashes

Fighting and funerals in West Bank, Gaza


In this story:

Overnight clashes

'Day of rage'

Clinton enlists German help

Coalition efforts continue

RELATED STORIES, SITES icon



JERUSALEM (CNN) -- One month after the beginning of Israeli-Palestinian clashes, fighting continued in the West Bank and Gaza, while funerals were held Saturday for four Palestinians killed in the violence.

The funerals were held in both territories for victims killed in Friday's clashes. At least 140 people have died in the violence since it began September 28, most of them Palestinians.

Some 5,000 mourners gathered in Gaza City, and thousands more were expected in the West Bank city of Ramallah.

Battles were reported on Saturday between Israeli soldiers and Palestinian protesters at the Erez Crossing along the Gaza and Israeli border. At least one Palestinian was injured.

  GALLERY
graphic Timeline gallery: Israeli opposition leader Ariel Sharon
 
 VIDEO
CNN's Jerrold Kessel interviews Israeli Col. Gal Hirsch during a gun battle with Palestinians (October 27)

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  AUDIO

Colonel Gal Hirsh of the Israeli Defense Forces comments on the fighting in Ramallah on Friday

851K/40 sec.
AIFF or WAV sound
 
  MESSAGE BOARD
Mideast peace
 
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Overnight clashes

Overnight, Israeli helicopter gunships opened fire against Palestinian targets in the West Bank Arab town of Beit Jalla, where police said Palestinians were firing on the adjacent Jewish neighborhood of Gilo, outside Jerusalem.

Israeli soldiers initially fired machine guns at Beit Jalla and around midnight, a helicopter cruised over the village and fired a missile.

In Gilo, Israeli tanks fired two shells, targeting suspected assailants, police said. There were no reports of injuries.

'Day of rage'

Friday's unrest in Palestinian cities throughout the West Bank and Gaza Strip marked an upsurge in fighting after several days of comparatively low-level violence. More than 150 Palestinians were injured, while four Israeli troops were hurt.

Friday's mayhem began with Palestinians pouring out of mosques following midday prayers and clashing with Israeli troops, in what the Palestinian Fatah movement called a "day of rage."

Fatah is recognized as the political arm of Palestinian Authority President Yasser Arafat.

Fatah declared Fridays "days of rage" after Israeli opposition Likud party leader Ariel Sharon visited an east Jerusalem site holy to both Muslims and Jews on September 28 -- a visit Palestinians, who revile Sharon, viewed as intensely provocative.

Israel, which has suspended peace negotiations with the Palestinians, also insists that restoring calm is a precondition for new talks.

Both sides blame the other for the continued fighting.

Clinton enlists German help

Friday, U.S. President Bill Clinton telephoned German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder to enlist his aid in resolving the situation, according to White House spokesman P.J. Crowley.

Schroeder is scheduled to travel to Cairo, Egypt; Beirut, Lebanon; Damascus, Syria; Tel Aviv, Israel; and Amman, Jordan, Crowley said, adding that the chancellor was expected to meet separately with Barak and Arafat.

"The president encouraged him to deliver a firm message on urging the two sides to overcome the violence and get back to the peace process," Crowley said.

Coalition efforts continue

Meanwhile, Barak's efforts to hold power by forming a so-called emergency coalition government with Sharon continued, so far, without success.

Sharon was said to be holding out for a veto on security issues before joining Barak's proposed coalition.

Time is running out for the prime minister's crumbling government, which faces the opening session of Israel's parliament on Monday.



RELATED STORIES:
Militant group claims responsibility for Gaza suicide bombing
October 26, 2000
Clinton invites Arafat to Washington
October 24, 2000
Barak and Sharon at odds on coalition government
October 23, 2000
More Middle East killings as Arab nations confer on crisis
October 21, 2000

RELATED SITES:
United Nations
Israel Defense Forces
Addameer: Palestinian Human Rights Association
  • Clashes Information Center
Palestinian State Information Service
Live Western Wall Camera at Aish
Palestinian National Authority Home Page
The Israeli Government's Official Web site
The Knesset, Israeli Parliament
Likud Home Page (Hebrew)
About the West Bank
Union of Palestinian Medical Relief Committees
U.S. State Department

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