Thousands attend funerals of killed Palestinians

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The Independent Online

Tens of thousands of Palestinians joined funeral processions today for seven people killed in clashes with Israeli troops this week, and their leaders said the uprising against Israel will continue.

Tens of thousands of Palestinians joined funeral processions today for seven people killed in clashes with Israeli troops this week, and their leaders said the uprising against Israel will continue.

In the Gaza Strip town of Rafah, two Palestinian girls were injured in an exchange of fire between Palestinian gunmen and Israeli troops. A four–year–old was hurt by shrapnel from an Israeli tank shell, and a nine–year–old was hit in the right leg by a bullet, said Dr Radawn Al–Jiras of Rafah hospital.

The Israeli army said the shooting began after Palestinians threw a firebomb at Israeli solders, without causing injury.

In the West Bank town of Nablus, five Palestinians died yesterday in a clash with Israeli troops were given a joint burial. About 40,000 mourners marched through the streets, led by five Palestinian police jeeps and about 30 gunmen firing in the air.

"The martyrs are a message to the world that the uprising will not stop until we have gotten back our land and the Israeli occupation is over," Ali Faraj, a top activist of Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat's Fatah movement in Nablus, told the crowd.

In the West Bank town of Ramallah, mourners buried a 21–year–old man, who was also killed in clashes with Israeli troops yesterday, as well as a 54–year–old man who died of injuries sustained during an Israeli rocket attack earlier this week.

Since Israeli–Palestinian fighting erupted in late September, 454 people have been killed, including 373 Palestinians, 62 Israeli Jews and 19 others.

In Hebron, residents on Saturday inspected the damage from Israeli shelling the day before, triggered by Palestinian shooting on Jewish enclaves in the divided West Bank town.

Twenty–seven Palestinians were lightly hurt by shrapnel, Palestinian hospital officials said. In nine homes, windows were shattered or walls broken by Israeli tank shells.

Hebron has been especially tense since the killing of a 10–month–old Israeli girl there by Palestinian fire earlier in the week. The infant, Shalhevet Pass, was to be buried Sunday, after her father, Yitzhak, dropped a demand that the army first recapture the Palestinian–controlled neighborhood from which the fatal shots were fired, Hebron settler leaders said.

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