Mid-East clashes intensify

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Monday, 13 November, 2000, 19:06 GMT Mid-East clashes intensify

More than 210 people have now died in the recent violence

Four Israelis and two Palestininian teenagers are reported to have been killed in separate incidents across the Palestinian territories. The killings have prompted Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak to call on the army to take "necessary steps".

The prime minister sees the violation of agreement on the Palestinian side as grave and instructed the Israeli army to take necessary steps Gilead Sher Three Israelis, including a woman settler, were killed when gunmen opened fire from a car on vehicles travelling between two Jewish settlements north of Ramallah. An army bus was also hit.

Later, an Israeli truck driver was reportedly shot dead in an attack in the Gaza Strip.

Two Palestinian teenagers were also killed near the Khan Yunis refugee camp when Israeli soldiers guarding a nearby Jewish settlement opened fire on stone-throwing demonstrators.

The latest incidents take the death toll to more than 210 people, most of them Palestinian, killed in Arab-Israeli violence since September.

'Grave violation'

The Israeli prime minister's bureau chief and policy co-ordinator, Gilead Sher, told journalists that Mr Barak had consulted senior officials about the incident by phone.

Ehud Barak has condemned the attacks He said that Mr Barak, who has been holding talks in Washington with President Clinton, condemned the attacks as a violation of the understandings reached at the Sharm el-Sheikh summit.

"The prime minister sees the violation of agreement on the Palestinian side as grave and instructed the Israeli army to take necessary steps," he said.

Summit call

After meeting for several hours on Sunday, Israel radio reported President Clinton told Mr Barak that he wants to hold another summit with him and the Palestinian leader, Yasser Arafat, before leaving office in January.

But the radio quoted an Israeli official as saying that such a summit would only be possible if there was a reduction in the current level of violence.

Mr Barak gave few details of the latest meeting and senior Israeli officials were quoted as saying there had been no breakthrough.

UN investigation

Monday's deaths came as Palestinian officials held talks with the United Nations Human Rights Commissioner, Mary Robinson, in the West Bank town of al-Bireh.

She went there to investigate complaints that Israeli troops have used excessive force against Palestinian protesters.

The Palestinians have blamed Jewish settlers for an attack on Sunday on a convoy of vehicles carrying Mrs Robinson.

One bullet hit a patrol car but no-one was hurt.

The Israeli army said the shots came from areas controlled by the Palestinian Authority.


-- Martin Thompson (mthom1927@aol.com), November 13, 2000

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