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Battles Flare Anew Between Israelis, Palestinians as Peace Talks Resume

May 20, 2000|Associated Press

NETZARIM JUNCTION, Gaza Strip — Capping a day of clashes, Israeli soldiers in armored trucks exchanged gunfire Friday with Palestinian police crouching behind cement blocks. The fighting occurred despite efforts by both sides to keep a lid on violence as peace talks resumed in Sweden.

During a 15-minute gun battle near the Jewish settlement of Netzarim, a bullet struck an Israeli soldier sitting in a jeep. Three Palestinians also were wounded.

Two Israeli attack helicopters hovered overhead as a warning to Palestinians during their second armed encounter with Israelis this week. Israeli army Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Shaul Mofaz disclosed Friday that, during a gun battle earlier this week in the West Bank city of Ramallah, he told Palestinian commanders that he would open fire from attack helicopters if the shooting didn't stop.

Across the West Bank, Palestinians hurled stones at Israeli troops Friday in what activists said was the first of two "days of rage" over Israel's refusal to free prisoners.

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