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The BBC's Frank Gardner in Jerusalem
"Neither side... can afford to appear weak to their people"
 real 56k

The BBC's Greg Barrow, in Jerusalem
"This could be a rallying point for people to get into further clashes with the Israeli's"
 real 56k

Friday, 27 October, 2000, 23:17 GMT 00:17 UK
Helicopter gunships deployed as night falls
Palestinians under teargas fire from Israeli soldiers in Ramallah
Palestinians under tear gas fire soldiers in Ramallah
Clashes between Israeli army units and Palestinians continued beyond nightfall on Friday after another day of violence in which four Palestinians were killed.

An Israeli military spokesman said helicopter gunships had been deployed around the West Bank village of Beit Jala in response to shots fired from there towards a Jewish settlement in Gilo.

Exchanges of fire between Israelis and Palestinians were also reported around Jericho.

Hamas supporter with grenade and
Hamas and other militant groups clamoured for more suicide attacks
The Israeli army says two shells were fired from tanks after a Palestinian attack on an army outpost.

Clashes began in the West Bank and Gaza following Friday's weekly Muslim prayers.

The violence, which ended a short-lived lull in a month of fighting, flared after Israel tightened security following calls by Palestinian militants for another "day of rage" against Israeli occupation.

More deaths

Witnesses said one man was killed when troops opened fire on demonstrators throwing stones near the West Bank town of Qalqilya.

A second was shot dead just outside Tulkarm, while the third was killed in gun battles on the outskirts of Ramallah. A fourth died in the Gaza Strip.

At least 150 people are reported to have been wounded in the clashes.

Witnesses reported that Israeli soldiers had used tear gas, rubber bullets and live rounds to control demonstrations by Palestinians.

The latest deaths bring to 136 the number killed, all but of eight them Arabs, during violence which began on 28 September.

There had been indications earlier that the general level of violence was subsiding, with Israeli police easing a ban on men entering the al-Aqsa mosque in East Jerusalem by lowering the age restriction from 45 to 35.

Suicide threat

The militant Islamic group Hamas has called for Palestinians to confront Israeli soldiers and settlers each Friday, immediately after midday prayers.

blockade
Israeli troops blocked off the main road where the suicide attack took place
Hundreds of Israeli police were deployed near the al-Aqsa mosque.

Security was also tight in the Gaza Strip following a suicide bomb attack on Thursday near a military post in which an Israeli soldier was wounded.

Trees have been bulldozed around the army outpost where the bombing took place to remove any cover for further potential attackers.

The militant Islamic Jihad group, which said it carried out the attack, has warned that more will follow.

Police deployment

Meanwhile, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak says he is continuing efforts to form a government of national unity after four weeks of bloodshed.

Barak
Ehud Barak says he will still keep the peace process alive
The opposition Likud party says it will not join any administration without a power of veto over the peace process with the Palestinians.

Mr Barak maintains that as long as he remains prime minister he will try to keep the peace process alive.

President Bill Clinton spoke phone to Mr Barak on Friday. But there is no sign that the Americans have made any headway in getting the Israeli and Palestinian leaders to meet in Washington for further talks.

Ariel Sharon, the Likud leader and Mr Barak's most likely coalition partner, remains strongly opposed to any negotiations that would surrender Israeli control over East Jerusalem.

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See also:

27 Oct 00 | Middle East
Israeli curfew creates ghost town
25 Oct 00 | Middle East
Mid-East talks to ease tension
22 Oct 00 | Middle East
Hezbollah: Keep up the fight
25 Oct 00 | Middle East
Hamas and Fatah join forces
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