Four Palestinians were killed by Israeli gunfire as protests erupted across the West Bank and Gaza Strip in a show of support for embattled Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, currently under siege at his West Bank headquarters.
Two Palestinians died from their wounds in Ramallah after being struck down by Israeli bullets during the pro-Arafat demonstrations that broke out in Ramallah early Sunday morning.
Thousands of Palestinians, many defying military curfews, took to the streets
early Sunday Sept. 22, 2002 to protest Israel's assault on Yasser Arafat's headquarters,
and four demonstrators were killed by army fire, doctors said.
The two counted among four Palestinians hit when Israeli troops fired on demonstrators in the town, Palestinian Red Crescent officials said.
Protestors threw stones at Israeli troops who fired rubber bullets at the crowd
in Ramallah's center and also shot into the air in an attempt to disperse the
Hospital sources said another 10 people were injured by rubber bullets in northern Ramallah after troops opened fire on stone-throwers.
The demonstrations started in Ramallah when a group of around 30 foreign peace activists were joined by hundreds of Palestinian residents in a march toward Arafat's battered Ramallah compound where the army is demanding the Palestinian leader hand over 20 wanted militants.
Arafat has been kept under siege by the Israeli army since late Thursday, following back-to-back suicide bombings inside Israel that left nine dead, including the two bombers.
Around 2,000 people took to the streets of the northern West Bank town of Nablus, and a comparable number in the town's Balata refugee camp where a teenage protestor was shot dead by Israeli soldiers.
Large demonstrations were also reported in Tulkarem where a fourth Palestinian protestor was gunned down and left severely injured.
Protests also flared in the northern town of Jenin and surrounding villages, witnesses said.
Witnesses said around 600 people gathered at the northern entrance to Ramallah despite an Israeli army closure.
"This rally was called by the Fatah north of Ramallah," local resident Mohamed Qunda said, referring to Arafat's political party.
"We will enter Ramallah despite what will happen in order to stand with Abu Amar," he said, using Arafat's nom de guerre.
As one group of about 100 demonstrators approached Arafat's headquarters, they
were stopped by Israeli troops who threw stun-bombs to disperse them, witnesses
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