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Tuesday, 2 April, 2002, 09:16 GMT 10:16 UK
Eyewitness: Fighting intensifies in Ramallah
Israeli tanks inside the Preventive Security headquarters in Ramallah
Israeli troops entered security headquarters in Ramallah
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barbara plett
By Barbara Plett
BBC correspondent in Ramallah

Heavy gun battles have been raging between Israeli forces and Palestinian gunmen in the West Bank town of Ramallah.

There have been rounds of gunfire from soldiers who have taken up positions by my hotel, where all the journalists are staying.

They are pointing guns at the hotel and down the street, but they are searching the building across the street which is a two-storey building that houses offices.

They [Israeli troops]have shot at some press vehicles and hit them

Just a few minutes ago they blew open the door with explosive charges.

Now they seem to be fanning out over the area, from what I can see by peering out of my window very carefully.

The soldiers have been searching private houses and public buildings for Palestinian militiamen.

This is the fifth day of the operation in Ramallah.

They are also preventing journalists from entering conflict zones.

They have shot at some press vehicles and hit them, and they have expelled at least one television crew from Ramallah.

The latest major military operation is an attack on the Preventive Security headquarters, which is just a few kilometres from here.

The army has attacked it with tanks and Apache helicopters.

From time to time we can see the helicopters hovering over the area.

The BBC's Barbara Plett in Ramallah
"Witnesses say there is a large amount of damage"
See also:

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Gun battles rage in Bethlehem
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Israel holds veteran French activist
25 Mar 02 | Middle East
Profile: Jibril Rajoub
01 Apr 02 | Middle East
Israeli papers demand clearer goals
01 Apr 02 | Asia-Pacific
Israel 'dragging Mid-East into war'
31 Mar 02 | Media reports
Arab press rails at Sharon
30 Mar 02 | Middle East
Sharon's strong-arm tactic
01 Apr 02 | Middle East
Washington accuses Syria of terror role
02 Apr 02 | Middle East
Israel's history of bomb blasts
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