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The BBC's Paul Adams in Jerusalem
"The threat of renewed violence over the region remains"
 real 56k

Spokesman for Yasser Arafat, Marwan Kanafani
"Mr Barak is trying to make things worse"
 real 28k

Israeli government spokesman Nahman Shai
"Israel intends to take decisive action"
 real 28k

Saturday, 7 October, 2000, 23:12 GMT 00:12 UK
Israel issues 48-hour ultimatum
Barak
Barak: We will consider halt to negotiations
After a day of escalating violence in the region, Israel's Prime Minister Ehud Barak has warned that the peace process in Middle East will be halted if the fighting is not brought under control within two days.


If we don't see an end to the violence in two days, we will consider that a halt to the negotiations

Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak
He said if the Palestinians did not respond to his call, "the army will use all means to end the violence".

Mr Barak again blamed Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat for the violence.

A wave of deadly clashes between the Israeli forces and Palestinians have left 80 people dead so far - most of them Palestinians.

Israeli helicopter
An Israeli helicopter takes off near the Lebanon border
Israeli warplanes have attacked Hezbollah positions in southern Lebanon after the militant group captured three Israeli soldiers in the area.

In the West Bank town of Nablus, a Jewish shrine, Joseph's Tomb, has been ransacked by Palestinian crowds after Israel withdrew its forces from the area.

In Washington, President Clinton cancelled his plans for the day to keep in touch with developments.

Palestinian anger

Reacting to Mr Barak's address, a senior member of the Palestine National Council, Hanan Ashrawi, said it was a typical Israeli reaction - blaming the victims for the violence.

She told Mr Barak to call on his army to stop shooting Palestinian people on their own land.

She said a change in mentality was needed among Israelis, to stop behaving like an occupying power and start behaving like a partner in peace.

Air strikes

According to reports the Israeli army has sent a special commando unit to the northern border area with Lebanon and put it on a state of alert.


The trouble began on the border after a riot in which Israeli soldiers shot dead at least two Palestinians.

Artillery battles have ensued along the border and Mr Barak has issued a demand to Syria and Lebanon to bring an end to the violence.

A correspondent for Reuters news agency said that Israeli jets fired rockets at the hills near a border village, Kfar Chouba, from which the guerrillas shelled Israel earlier.

It is the first time Israeli aircraft have entered Lebanon since Israel pulled all its troops out of the country in May after a 22-year occupation.

Hezbollah demands

Israel confirmed that three of its soldiers had been captured.

The Hezbollah leader Sheikh Nazrallah
The Hezbollah leader Sheikh Nazrallah has called for attacks on Israel
"This afternoon, three Israeli army soldiers were kidnapped during operational activity along the border fence... on the northern frontier by Lebanese elements, apparently Hezbollah," the army said in a statement.

It said the armed forces would make "every effort to locate the abducted soldiers and to return them home safely".

Hezbollah said it had captured the soldiers from an Israeli army position in the Shebaa Farms district, an area that remained in dispute after the Israeli's withdrawal from Lebanon.

It said it had launched the operation for three reasons:

  • To free Hezbollah prisoners held by Israel
  • To liberate Lebanese territory
  • To assist the Palestinian uprising

Witnesses said that Israeli helicopter gunships scrambled to the air immediately afterwards, apparently to search for the missing soldiers.

Rising anger

Anti-Israeli protests have continued across the Arab world, with the most violent taking place in the Egyptian capital, Cairo.

border scene
An Israeli citizen taunted at the Lebanese border
Reports say several policemen and students were injured in clashes as security forces tried to stop demonstrators marching on the Israeli embassy.

For a second day, there were similar scenes in the Syrian capital, Damascus, while in Amman, the Jordanian authorities banned demonstrations after one person was killed at a Palestinian camp on Friday.

Amid mounting Arab anger, the Egyptian President, Hosni Mubarak, has continued his efforts to convene an emergency Arab summit.

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See also:

07 Oct 00 | Middle East
Jewish shrine ransacked
26 May 00 | Middle East
Analysis: Lebanon's fragile peace
06 Oct 00 | Middle East
Protests spread in Arab world
06 Oct 00 | Middle East
Analysis: Arafat on the edge
05 Oct 00 | From Our Own Correspondent
Eyewitness: Battle for Jerusalem
05 Oct 00 | Middle East
Analysis: Barak's hopes fade
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