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Saturday, 28 September, 2002, 13:43 GMT 14:43 UK
Palestinians mark two years of intifada
Palestinians in Gaza mark the second intifada
Thousands gathered in Gaza to mark the anniversary
Tens of thousands of Palestinians have joined demonstrations in Gaza, to mark the second anniversary of their uprising, or intifada, against Israel.

People waved Palestinian flags and held up posters of their leader, Yasser Arafat, chanting: "We will support our president from siege to siege".


Our resolution will continue and we will be the winners, the victory will be ours

Yasser Arafat
Mr Arafat, who is besieged by Israeli tanks in his office in the West Bank town of Ramallah, addressed the crowd by phone, pledging to strive for a Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital.

Palestinian witnesses said Israeli forces shot dead one boy and wounded at least six others in clashes with stone throwers on the fringes of the marches.

Since the start of the intifada, more than 1,500 Palestinians and 600 Israelis have been killed.

The BBC's Barbara Plett in Jerusalem says that for many, the current status of the uprising is symbolised not by the largely orchestrated rallies but by the powerlessness of their leader, trapped in his ruined headquarters.

West Bank curfews

"We want to defend our holy places, both Christian and Muslim, to defend Jerusalem and every centimetre of our land. Our resolution will continue and we will be the winners, the victory will be ours," Mr Arafat told the crowd in Gaza.

Palestinian woman holds up a poster of Arafat
Arafat remains besieged in Ramallah
Mr Arafat's Fatah movement also pledged to continue the struggle.

"This nation knows only one language: self-defence and no surrender," a Fatah statement said.

The spiritual leader of the militant Hamas group, Sheikh Ahmad Yassin, also promised there would be no let-up in the intifada.

Demonstrations were due to be held in the West Bank later on Saturday, but most of the big cities are under strict Israeli curfew and many people are too frightened to go out.

On Friday, tens of thousands marched through the Lebanese capital Beirut, to mark the anniversary.

Smaller rallies were held in Egypt, Syria and Jordan.

The intifada began after Ariel Sharon, then leader of the Israeli opposition, made a controversial visit to the Temple Mount in September 2000, a site sacred to both Jews and Muslims.

Many Israelis say Mr Sharon's visit was used by Palestinians as an excuse to resume violence.

They accuse Mr Arafat of being determined to pursue violence after the collapse in July 2000 of the Camp David peace talks hosted by President Bill Clinton.

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"The militias promised to step-up their attacks"

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28 Sep 02 | Media reports
27 Sep 02 | Middle East
27 Sep 02 | Middle East
24 Sep 02 | Middle East
14 Aug 02 | Middle East
14 Aug 02 | Middle East
28 Sep 00 | Middle East
16 Jul 02 | Middle East
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