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Crisis in the Middle East: West Bank Street Clashes Continue; Ramallah Hospital Reports Treating High-Velocity Bullet Wounds

Aired October 10, 2000 - 2:35 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: Another day of street fighting in at least two towns in Gaza and the West Bank. Young people threw rocks at Israeli soldiers. They responded with tear gas and rubber-coated bullets. At least one person was gravely injured. A 9-year-old boy in Gaza, a bystander, we are told, was shot in the head. Doctors say he is probably brain dead.

U.n. Secretary-General Kofi Annan is heading the diplomatic effort today to cool off the Middle East crisis. He met separately with the Israeli and Palestinian leaders and came out of the sessions sounding somewhat hopeful. Annan conceded the leaders could only do so much, that the people of the region must do their part to calm things. Annan plans to travel to Lebanon shortly to work on the release of three Israeli soldiers. They are being held by Hezbollah guerrillas.

LOU WATERS, CNN ANCHOR: Now more about that street fighting in the Palestinian territories.

We call upon CNN's Mike Hanna, who's reporting on the situation in Ramallah in the West Bank.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MIKE HANNA, CNN JERUSALEM BUREAU CHIEF: Once again here in the West Bank town of Ramallah, a confrontation, Palestinian demonstrators coming up against the Israeli security forces.

Throughout the afternoon, the security forces have been firing rubber-coated steal bullets. They've been using concussion grenades and they've been firing tear gas into the Palestinian crowd, which has been responding with stones and, on occasion, firebombs or Molotov cocktails.

What happened on this particular day, a funeral was held for a man who was allegedly beaten to death by Jewish settlers. The Palestinians attended this funeral here in Ramallah and then came down to this particular point for yet another confrontation with the security forces -- a confrontation that has occurred numerous times over the past 13 days.

Now, out of this particular conflict here over the last few hours, one hospital in Ramallah tells us that they have treated seven people, they've admitted seven people who were taking part in that demonstration. Of those seven, four people had been wounded with sharp-point, high-velocity ammunition; that is, regular bullets; that is, not rubber-coated steel bullets. That is, more than 50 percent of those admitted have been injured, according to the Ramallah hospital authorities, with regular bullets.

Earlier on, I spoke to the authorities there, was provided with statistics that indicate that, over the past 13 days, nearly 40 percent of those admitted have been treated for injuries consistent with high-velocity, regular bullets, a very disturbing factor indeed.

One must point out as well, though, that throughout the West Bank and in the Gaza Strip on this day, there has been relative quiet, relative to the high intensity of violence that has been seen throughout the duration of this particular conflict.

But here at Ramallah, the far northern border of the Palestinian Authority, once again there's confrontation, once again there's conflict, and here at least, no sign of any cessation of hostilities.

I'm Mike Hanna, CNN, Ramallah.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ALLEN: And we will, of course, continue to follow developments on the Middle East.

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