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The BBC's Judith Moloney
"Anger is channelled into destruction"
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The BBC's Paul Adams in Jerusalem
"There is a grim internal momentum which has already developed"
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Sunday, 1 October, 2000, 02:41 GMT 03:41 UK
Mid-East peace 'drowning in blood'
Weeping relatives of dead Palestinian youth
Funerals held on Saturday of Palestinians killed in earlier clashes
At least 15 Palestinians have been killed in clashes with Israeli soldiers as violent demonstrations swept across the West Bank and Gaza Strip for the third successive day.

More than 500 others were injured - a Palestinian minister, Yasir Abd-Rabbuh, said the political process between Israel and the Palestinians was being drowned in blood.

In Gaza, Palestinian police sided with the rioters and fought a gun battle with the Israelis.

Palestinian youths use a slingshot to fire stones at Israeli police
Palestinian uses a slingshot to fire stones at Israeli police
Late on Saturday, senior Israeli military figures held meetings with the heads of the Palestinian security services to try to find ways of restoring calm.

Earlier, the Israeli Prime Minister, Ehud Barak, telephoned the Palestinian leader, Yasser Arafat, urging him to step in personally to stop the violence.

At one point, the Israelis announced a ceasefire had been agreed but the Palestinians denied this.

Live rounds

Saturday's demonstrations saw thousands of Palestinians take to the streets to protest against the death of six Palestinians on Friday, some attacking Israeli checkpoints with stones and petrol bombs.

Troops responded with rubber-coated bullets and, in some cases, with live rounds.

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

One 12-year-old Palestinian boy was filmed sheltering behind his father as they sought cover from the hail of Israeli fire.

Both were shot and the boy died.

The battle for Jerusalem has begun

Bassem Naim, Fatah activist
Our corespondent in Jerusalem, Hilary Andersson, says it is scenes like this that have enraged the Palestinians.

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
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.

Provocative actions

Mr Arafat has been visiting Cairo to brief Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak on the clashes.

Israeli soldiers
Israeli soldiers used live rounds and rubber bullets against the demonstrators
Mr Mubarak's office has condemned the deaths of the protesters, blaming them on what it called Israel's provocative actions.

But Mr Barak told the Egyptian leader on Saturday the Israeli army was exercising "maximum restraint" while being "determined to preserve public order and preserve its citizens".

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.

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See also:

01 Oct 00 | Middle East
In pictures: Battle for Jerusalem
28 Sep 00 | Middle East
Shots fired at Jerusalem holy site
01 Oct 00 | Middle East
Assad seeks Arab solidarity
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
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