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Breaking News

Israeli Helicopters Fire on Targets in Ramallah

Aired October 12, 2000 - 9:00 a.m. ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

(JOINED IN PROGRESS)

BEN WEDEMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Just heard another report from within the town of Ramallah. There are two helicopters hovering: one very much over the center of the city, another one, the other helicopter that you see is on the outskirts. Earlier, we saw the report -- we heard the report of three tanks firing into the city. And I can see in the central part of the city, there's smoke rising from where one of those missiles must have landed.

This is coming after a day of extreme tension, a declining situation here in Ramallah following the death of those two Israeli soldiers, killed by a Palestinian mob earlier today.

UNIDENTIFIED ANCHOR: Ben, what kind of buildings are there in the center of Ramallah where you said that you think the explosion occurred?

WEDEMAN: Well, it's a city, so you've got residential units, you've got businesses. It's very much a town of many normal commercial activities, so it's hard to say. Obviously -- also in the center of that town is the police station where those two soldiers were killed. And many of the facilities, ministries, offices of the Palestinian Authority are also there.

So it's hard to say exactly what targets are being hit, but clearly the time has come now. Israel is acting decisively against the Palestinian Authority.

UNIDENTIFIED ANCHOR: Ben, are there many people in the streets that could have come in harm's way?

WEDEMAN: No. We've seen throughout the day when we've been here is the streets are very empty. Clearly people were expecting this sort of thing to happen. And the areas, for instance, which were normally full of young men and boys throwing stones and Molotov cocktails at the Israeli positions have now been vacated. There's really no body on this street.

OK, we just heard another explosion. And there are still helicopters hovering over this city, so it looks like the attack is ongoing.

UNIDENTIFIED ANCHOR: And you also... WEDEMAN: And also, we heard over a loud speaker from the Israeli position nearby soldiers being advised to put on their flak jackets and their helmets because of this situation.

UNIDENTIFIED ANCHOR: And as you say, it appears this is likely to intensify, that the Israelis are preparing for more retaliation, as this appears to be retaliation for the two Israeli soldiers' deaths.

WEDEMAN: Yes, that definitely appears to be what's going on. Prime Minister Ehud Barak earlier today canceled all his appointments and described the situation as very grave. Obviously, it's more than grave at the moment, it's volatile.

UNIDENTIFIED ANCHOR: Ben, thank you very much. We'll keep checking with you.

And now we will go to Jerusalem where...

DARYN KAGAN, CNN ANCHOR: Thank you very much. That was our coverage from our sister network CNN International.

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