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CNN Today

Violence Escalates in the Gaza Strip

Aired October 2, 2000 - 1:13 p.m. ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

NATALIE ALLEN, CNN ANCHOR: The White House says it will lead a full-scale investigation into the rioting going on in the Middle East. President Clinton, Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and others from the U.S. have been talking with leaders in that area. They are hoping to try and end five days of street fighting that has left 36 people dead.

Our Jerusalem bureau chief Mike Hanna joins us now with the latest -- Mike.

MIKE HANNA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Natalie, the violence is reportedly continuing in the Gaza Strip. This, in the vicinity of an Israeli enclave in the Palestinian-controlled territory, that of Netzarim. Reports from the region indicate that Israeli combat helicopters have been deployed. Within the last hour, it is reported, machine gun rounds were fired from the helicopters. Earlier, it was reported that antitank missiles were fired from the helicopters.

There has been violence, too, in several West Bank towns and villages as this confrontation continues here in West Bank town of Hebron. The focal point of much of the violence, Israeli enclaves within these Palestinian controlled territories. The Palestinian Authority insists that the presence of Israeli forces here is the major flashpoint for the ongoing conflict. They say, too, the presence of Israeli forces in the shrines of the old city of Jerusalem are also a potential flashpoint.

The Israeli government says, however, that it's the Palestinian Authority that must accept responsibility for the violence, saying that it has the power to restore order on the ground should it wish to do so. But, while the violence goes on and the politicians continue to apportion blame, each hour, say observers, that the violence continues, makes the likelihood of resuming peace negotiations even more unlikely.

I'm Mike Hanna, CNN, reporting live from Jerusalem.

ALLEN: And we will, of course, continue to follow developments in that story.

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