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CNN BREAKING NEWS

Death Toll Climbs After Attack by Gunman in Hebron

Aired November 15, 2002 - 14:32   ET

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

MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN ANCHOR: We want to get back to the story that's coming out of Israel. The death toll continuing to climb from an attack by what is believed to be a Palestinian gunman.
Matthew Chance now joins us live from Ramallah. The attack though, we should point out, happened in Hebron -- Matthew.

MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Martin, some details trickling through to us as well from Hebron about the extent of the casualties in that shooting. We're hearing now from Israeli media reports that as many as nine people that may have been killed in this shooting incident -- shooting incident which cook place just outside the divided West Bank city of Hebron, just outside a Jewish settlement there on the outskirts of the city.

Now, the exact circumstances of what happened are slightly unclear at this stage. We understand that at least one Palestinian gunman, according to Israeli security sources, but possibly more, opened fire on the -- on Jewish settlers, making their way towards a prayer meeting the tomb of the patriarch, a holy shrine in the center of Hebron, revered by Jews and Muslims -- opened fired on by Palestinian gunmen. A number of Israeli soldiers were along there too, providing some protection, supposedly to those settlers. Israeli defense forces say injuries have been very high, and that they've evacuated between 20 and 30 people, some with quite serious injuries as a result of that. Just to confirm as well, Israeli media saying that at least nine people killed in that attack as well, Martin.

SAVIDGE: Matthew, do we know, has anybody been arrested or caught?

CHANCE: No, it's much too early, I think, at this stage for any arrests to have been made. There have been initial responses from the Israelis on the ground there. There was a -- following the shooting, there was a fierce exchange of automatic gunfire between the Palestinian gunmen and the Israeli settlers who, of course, many of whom carry weapons. Also, the Israeli defense forces who were there, protecting them.

We're also told by Palestinian officials inside Hebron that Israeli tanks opened fire on the city, at least a couple of shells being held over in response to that.

Everybody, though, is expecting, though, some kind of more measured Israeli military response to these killings in the West Bank.

SAVIDGE: What is that in the background there, Matthew? OK. I'm sorry. I'm just hearing -- I'm just hearing the sound of gunfire, but it's coming from the video that we were seeing...

(CROSSTALK)

SAVIDGE: Matthew Chance reporting to us out of Ramallah on the situation from Hebron. Thanks very much.

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