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Thursday, 2 August, 2001, 01:39 GMT 02:39 UK
West Bank tensions escalate
Father of Hamas leader Jamal Mansour
Mourners called for revenge for Tuesday's killings
A Palestinian man has been shot dead in the West Bank town of Hebron, as anger over Tuesday's rocket attack which killed eight people in Nablus spread through the region.

Three more Palestinians and a Jewish settler were also said to have been injured in the hour-long gun battle.


This kind of response is too aggressive and it just serves to increase the level of tension and violence in the region.

Colin Powell
Earlier, tens of thousands of Palestinian mourners gathered at the funerals of Tuesday's victims to demand revenge as Israel rejected condemnation of the attack.

Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat said the attack made international observers in the region all the more necessary.

Mr Arafat, who is currently visiting Italy, said he would appeal to Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi to do "everything possible" to get observers sent. Italy currently holds the presidency of the G8 group of industrialised nations.

The idea was endorsed by the G8 summit in Genoa last month.

Mr Arafat is also due to meet Pope John Paul II, who correspondents describe as a consistent supporter of the Palestinians in their claim for recognition of their homeland.

Explosion

As Israel maintained a high alert for possible retaliation by the Palestinian militant movement Hamas, an explosion ripped through a parking lot at a top west Jerusalem hotel. There were no casualties.

Palestinian throws petrol bomb in Hebron
The worst clashes were in Hebron
And two Palestinians suspected of "collaborating" with Israel were reported killed in separate attacks in the West Bank.

Meanwhile the United States said it still hoped to salvage a regional ceasefire despite the escalating violence.

"We have constant hope that we can do this," State Department spokesman Richard Boucher was quoted as saying. "We work on it very hard."

'Aggressive' policy

Mr Boucher earlier condemned the controversial Israeli policy of attacking Palestinian militants deemed to be threats to security.

Slain Hamas leader Jamal Mansour
Hamas denies Mansour was involved in attacks on Israel
And his words were echoed by Secretary of State Colin Powell, who described the Israeli action as "too aggressive" and said it would increase tension in the region.

The Israeli cabinet has said it will continue the policy.

A statement issued after a top-level security meeting said Israel would target "terrorists and their commanders".

Hamas targeted

Mourners at the Nablus funerals shouted "revenge, revenge!" and "death to Israel!" as the bodies, wrapped in Palestinian flags, were carried aloft on stretchers.

Map
But Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon praised the rocket attack as one of Israel's most important successes.

Jamal Mansour and Jamal Salim, both senior Hamas activists, were among those killed when an Israeli helicopter gunship fired missiles into a third-floor research office belonging to the organisation.

The Israeli Defence Minister, Binyamin Ben Eliezer, argued that the attack had possibly saved hundreds of lives.

Israeli newspaper reports say intelligence officials have received an unprecedented level of warnings about possible attacks on Israelis.

The BBC's Middle East analyst Roger Hardy says the killings will only further radicalise Hamas and Palestinian society as a whole.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's James Reynolds, in Jerusalem
"It does not look like any outsiders are coming"
Hamas spokesman Dr Mahmoud Allzahar
"We have no choice but to defend ourselves against Israeli aggression"
Jordan Vatikai, Israeli Defence Ministry spokesman
"We targeted the people who have already launched a huge amount of terror attacks"
See also:

01 Aug 01 | Middle East
Palestinians sentenced to death
31 Jul 01 | Middle East
Profile: Hamas activist Jamal Mansour
01 Aug 01 | Middle East
In pictures: Nablus funerals
03 Apr 01 | Middle East
Israel's 'assassination policy'
30 Jul 01 | Middle East
Israeli helicopters attack Gaza police
29 Jul 01 | Media reports
Arab press angry at Jerusalem violence
29 Jul 01 | Middle East
Violence erupts at Jerusalem holy site
01 Aug 01 | Media reports
Press anger over Nablus attack
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