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Two dead in Gaza protest

Members of the public in Jerusalem read reports of U.S.-led attack on Afghanistan
Members of the public in Jerusalem read reports of U.S.-led attack on Afghanistan  

JERUSALEM (CNN) -- Two Palestinians have been killed as Palestinian police tried to break up a pro-Osama bin Laden demonstration in Gaza City.

Hospital sources said in addition to the two dead, a third Palestinian was in grave condition and scores had been injured during Monday's protest.

The Palestinian Authority had asked Palestinians not to show support for Saudi dissident bin Laden, who is accused by the United States of being behind the terror attacks on September 11.

Palestinian Police said when demonstrators staged an illegal demonstration outside the Islamic University, officers moved in with teargas and live ammunition.

The police said no officers were killed but 12 were injured, and that five students were also hurt.

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The rally was held a day after U.S.-led air strikes on Afghanistan, where bin Laden is believed to be hiding.

The Palestinian Authority had banned the demonstration. Witnesses told Reuters the protesters carried small posters of bin Laden and chanted: "Hamas hails bin Laden."

A Palestinian security vehicle was set on fire.

A senior Palestinian security official told Reuters that Palestinian police "maybe won't be able to stop Palestinians from demonstrating, but they will not allow demonstrations in which people carry Osama bin Laden pictures."

Israeli Defense Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer said the Gaza protests would test the Palestinian Authority's ability to control Palestinian Muslim militants.

"There is no doubt that there are elements like the Hamas and Islamic Jihad that feel they are blood relations with bin Laden and all his associates," Reuters quoted Ben-Eliezer telling Israel Radio.

"They will try to incite ... and from that perspective this is also a test of the Palestinian Authority to see to what measure it can control it."

Ismail Abu Shanab, a Hamas leader in Gaza, said he and Hamas officials were at the site of clashes trying to end the violence.

"We are trying to calm things down, we are speaking to the police, we are speaking to the students, but unfortunately, things are continuing."

The violence comes after a Palestinian was shot dead and three others injured by the Israeli army on Sunday in the West Bank city of Hebron, the Palestine Red Crescent said.

Earlier on Sunday, police said an Israeli and a Palestinian were killed when a car exploded at the entrance of a kibbutz in northern Israel near Beit Shean in what authorities say was a suicide attack.

• Palestine Red Crescent
• Israel Radio
• Israel Prime Minister's Office

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