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The BBC's Hilary Andersson in Jerusalem
"For many these riots are a battle for Jerusalem's sacred ground"
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Palestinian student demonstrator, Muna Muhaisen
"People are not pleased with the way the negotiations are headed"
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Saturday, 30 September, 2000, 23:17 GMT 00:17 UK
Violence engulfs West Bank and Gaza
Palestinian demonstrators in Hebron
Thousands rioted on the streets on the thrid day of clashes
A wave of violent demonstrations across the West Bank and Gaza Strip is reported to have left at least 15 Palestinians dead in clashes with Israeli soldiers.

More than 500 others were injured in what was the third day of violence.

Thousands took to the streets to protest against the death of six Palestinians on Friday, some attacking Israeli checkpoints with stones and petrol bombs.

Injured demonstrator in Ramallah
More than 300 Palestinians were injured on Saturday
Troops responded with rubber-coated bullets and, in some cases, with live rounds.

Palestinian Health Minister Riad al-Zaanun said 10 Palestinians had died in the West Bank, and five in the Gaza Strip.

In Gaza Palestinian policemen fired back at the Israelis with their own live bullets. A 20-minute gunfight followed.

The battle for Jerusalem has begun

Bassem Naim, Fatah activist
Since the Gaza shootout, the Israeli army has agreed a ceasefire with security officials from the Palestinian Authority.

The clashes began on Thursday after a visit by the right-wing Israeli leader Ariel Sharon to a contested holy site in Jerusalem, known as the Temple Mount to Israelis, and Haram al-Sharif to Muslims.

'Battle for Jerusalem'

On Friday Israeli riot police stormed the Al-Aqsa mosque inside the walled compound, opening fire on stone-throwing worshippers - a move described as the start of a "battle for Jerusalem" by a leader of the Palestinian Fatah movement.

Violent days
Gaza bomb kills Israeli soldier
Clashes erupt after Sharon visits Al-Aqsa
Second bomb in Gaza
Palestinian soldier kills Israeli on joint patrol
Second day of Al-Aqsa clashes - six Palestinians killed
Fifteen die in clashes in West Bank and Gaza
BBC correspondent Hilary Andersson, in Bethlehem, said the streets were covered in a blanket of stones and debris.

In many places around the West Bank, tyres and cars were burning in the road, she said. There were clashes in Hebron, and in dozens of other towns.

A general strike called for by the Palestinian leadership was widely observed. Shops were closed and children were sent home from school.

Restraint call

More than 150 Palestinians were injured on Friday as clashes spread to the West Bank from Jerusalem.

The holy site where the trouble started lies on territory captured by Israel in the 1967 war, and is at the centre of the fierce dispute over the sovereignty of Jerusalem.

Both the United States and the United Nations have called for restraint.

Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak told Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak over the phone on Saturday that the Israeli army was exercising "maximum restraint," while being "determined to preserve public order and protect its citizens."

Mr Barak also told the Egyptian leader that the Palestinian Authority needed to show restraint and control the disturbances, a spokesman said.

Shaul Mofaz, Israel's army chief, had stronger words.

"The events are a direct result of the behaviour of the Palestinian police which acted in a way that led to bloodshed," Mr Mofaz said.

Provocative actions

Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat has been visiting Cairo to brief Mr Mubarak on the clashes.

Mr Mubarak's office has condemned the deaths of the protesters, blaming them on what it called Israel's provocative actions.

Israeli soldiers
Israeli soldiers used live rounds and rubber bullets against the demonstrators
The Egyptian new agency has reported that Mr Arafat told the Arab League that Israeli soldiers had orders to aim for the heads of Palestinians.

He is reported to have shown members of the league and the European Union envoy to the region, Miguel Moratinos photographs of Israeli soldiers aiming guns fitted with sights at Palestinians.

The Saudi Arabian Government has also condemned what it described as Israel's brutal aggression, and urged the international community to ensure better protection for the holy sites.

About 5,000 Egyptian university students on Saturday demonstrated against what they described as the Israeli "massacre" of Palestinians in Jerusalem.

In Lebanon thousands of Palestinian refugees demonstrated against the killings. They marched through Ain el-Hilweh, the biggest refugee camp in Lebanon, chanting anti-Israeli slogans and burning an effigy of Ariel Sharon.

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See also:

29 Sep 00 | Middle East
In pictures: Violence in Jerusalem
28 Sep 00 | Middle East
Shots fired at Jerusalem holy site
28 Sep 00 | Middle East
Barak agrees to twin Jerusalem capitals
28 Sep 00 | Middle East
Ariel Sharon: Controversial hardliner
13 Sep 00 | Middle East
Holy Jerusalem: The key to peace
25 Sep 00 | Middle East
Arafat and Barak hold talks
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