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Breaking News

Crisis in the Middle East: Gunfire Breaks Out at Checkpoint in Ramallah

Aired October 13, 2000 - 9:23 a.m. ET

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

DARYN KAGAN, CNN ANCHOR: We go now back to our other top story, and that of course being the Middle East. We want to bring in our Christiane Amanpour, who is standing by on the Israeli side of Ramallah.

Christiane, we were listening earlier while you were reporting for CNN International and we heard a lot of gunfire. What can you tell us about that?

CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN SR. INTL. CORRESPONDENT: Well, there has been in the last 25 minutes an outbreak of gunfire. Basically, one of the Israeli tanks, which is positioned above this town, let go with its heavy machine gun at a specific target behind me. It looks like it's a small brick house and it was being targeted. You could see puffs of smoke and you could hear the reports from the heavy machine gun as it was firing around that particular target. And we think we saw fire coming back from that particular target. So that was the one specific thing that was targeted. It was brief. It went on for maybe a few minutes, but that's all.

And all in all, it's a completely different situation here than it was yesterday. There's nothing like the kind of escalation and confrontation that we saw here yesterday.

Nonetheless, as you can imagine, tempers are still frayed, emotions are still raw. People here are very angry about what happened yesterday. The Israeli army took retaliation for the lynching of three soldiers and they let go with gunship -- helicopter gunships and missiles fired on Palestinian military positions, police positions and other military-related positions. According to the Israelis, that was a limited action. And today, we haven't seen, as I say, anything remotely resembling what happened here yesterday.

This started in Ramallah today after Friday prayers. It is Friday, the day of rest for the Muslim people, came out of their prayers, and about several thousand gathered in the main square of Ramallah having a demonstration. Then a couple of hundred of them moved towards the junction, which is down below me, which is the constant flashpoint, because there there are Israeli security positions.

In any event, Palestinians started to throw rocks, the Israelis, predictably, responded with rubber-coated bullets and tear gas, and then shortly after that there was some gunfire, and that's when the exchanges of gunfire started. And that is what led to the tank opening up against a specific position.

But on the whole, a much, much lower level than it was yesterday; frankly, nothing in comparison to what happened here yesterday. But people are still upset, obviously, still angry. And there is, you know, a difficulty, according to the Palestinians who are trying to control the gunfire -- a difficulty controlling the people and being able to stop them from marching to these positions and provoking these incidents -- Daryn.

KAGAN: Christiane, that is good news that things are a lot calmer today. What about this call for another so-called "day of rage"?

AMANPOUR: Well, I think a lot is being made of that. Basically, for the last couple of Fridays, there have been, you know, similar calls. But it's just yet another Friday ritual, if you like. And in terms of the results of that, as I say, nothing close to what happened last Friday or, indeed, the week before -- Daryn.

KAGAN: Christiane Amanpour in Ramallah, thank you very much. And stay safe out there. Thank you very much, Christiane Amanpour.

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