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Israeli police enter disputed compound

Security officials lift Gaza roadblocks, but Palestinians say it isn't helping


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Journalist wounded at refugee camp

Settlers arrested and released

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JERUSALEM (CNN) -- Israeli riot police stepped into a disputed east Jerusalem shrine on Friday to quell a stone-throwing demonstration by Muslims leaving a mosque after noon prayers.

No shots were fired, however, and the police left the area soon after they arrived.

Earlier, Israeli officials said they were easing travel restrictions in Gaza that have effectively rendered movement in the Palestinian territories impossible.

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The Bush administration urges restraint from both Israel and Palestinians. CNN's Andrea Koppel reports

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CNN's Jerrold Kessel reports on U.S. policy regarding the Mideast conflict

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CNN's Mike Hanna has more on the continuing violence in the Mideast

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CNN's Mike Hanna: Israel restricts UN movement

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CNN's Jerrold Kessel: U.S. pressure denied by Israel

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The Israeli army said it had lifted roadblocks, but Palestinians said traffic was still sluggish as drivers stopped at security checks.

"It's a big lie," taxi driver Musa Abu Ali told The Associated Press. "We still feel that we are living in a big jail, and opening the road today is like the 15-minute break which the prisoners used to have in the backyard of the prison."

Israel slapped the travel restrictions on the area in response to what they said was an increasing number of mortar attacks on Israelis.

Palestinian Authority President Yasser Arafat ordered on Thursday an end to all shooting from Palestinian-controlled areas, including mortar fire, but two more shells fell in Israel near the Nir Oz collective farm after the orders were issued. No one was hurt in that incident.

Journalist wounded at refugee camp

The ongoing conflict between Israelis and Palestinians broke out September 28 with a stone-throwing protest at the site known to Jews as Temple Mount and to Muslims as Haram al-Sharif (Noble Sanctuary). The violence began after a long lull in which the two sides tried to reach a peace agreement.

The past seven months of bombings, shootings and other attacks have left about 505 people dead -- at least 420 Palestinians, 71 Israeli Jews, 13 Israeli Arabs and a German.

Friday's incident began when Muslims launched a barrage of stones -- from the same walled compound where the violence first started -- at Israeli police below. Two officers were injured.

The site has been a central focus of the conflict between Palestinians and Israelis.

Both the Israelis and Palestinians want control over the spot, an issue secondary only to their adversarial positions on Jerusalem itself. The Palestinians want east Jerusalem as the capital of a Palestinian state, while the Israelis claim the ancient city as their undivided capital forever.

Stone-throwing protests were also reported in the West Bank town of Hebron, and a Palestinian television reporter was wounded by gunfire at Rafah refugee camp in Gaza.

Hospital officials said Abu Dabi TV reporter Laila Odeh was shot in the leg by Israeli troops. She was in good condition, the officials said. The Israeli army said it was looking into the report.

Settlers arrested and released

Also on Thursday night, Israeli police arrested 24 Israeli Jews in Hebron as they demonstrated in the city's Gross Square.

The group was demanding the Israeli government seize a Palestinian neighborhood in Hebron where snipers fired last month, killing a 10-month-old baby.

The demonstrators were released after agreeing not to return to Gross Square and to abide by an agreement between settlers and the local police commander. Under that agreement, the demonstrators were allowed to post signs urging action by the Israeli government.

Earlier this week, Israeli forces made a series of moves -- including the temporary occupation of a small quarter of northeastern Gaza -- that angered Palestinians and drew a sharp rebuke from the United States.

The government of Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon has said it will not compromise the Jewish state's security because of international protests.



RELATED STORIES:
Blast rocks central West Bank town
April 19, 2001
Robin Oakley: Sharon's test for U.S.
April 18, 2001
Witnesses: Israel shells Gaza town
April 18, 2001
Arabs blast Israeli moves in Gaza
April 17, 2001
Israeli withdrawal follows harsh U.S. criticism
April 17, 2001
Jordan official discusses peace with Israelis, Palestinians
April 16, 2001
Israelis strike Arafat's guard unit's headquarters
April 16, 2001

RELATED SITES:
Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Israeli Prime Minister's Office
Knesset, Israeli Parliament
Israel Defense Forces
Permanent Mission of Israel to the U.N.
Palestinian National Authority
Palestinian Red Crescent
Permanent Observer Mission of Palestine to the U.N.
U.S. State Department, Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs
U.N. Question of Palestine home page
The E.U.'s Middle East Policy

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