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Renewed Fighting Rages in Holy Land

Seven Palestinians and three Israelis were killed in the Middle East today, on the anniversary of the 1987-93 Palestinian uprising known as the Intifada.

Israeli troops killed five Palestinians, including at least three policemen, near the West Bank town of Jenin. Palestinians said Israeli forces fired anti-tank missiles in an unprovoked attack.

Palestinian gunmen killed two Jewish settlers in a roadside shooting in the West Bank and a third in a bus attack near Jericho.

A pool of blood was left on the Via Dolorosa, the traditional route Jesus took to his crucifixion, after a 16-year-old Palestinian rock thrower was shot to death in the head by Israeli police. Palestinian youths dipped their hands in the blood, held them aloft in a show of defiance and then made handprints on the stone walls lining the alley, Reuters reported.

Gun battles also erupted in the West Bank cities of Ramallah and Hebron, denting hopes of reviving peacemaking just days before a planned visit Monday by a U.S.-led fact-finding committee of inquiry.

The Israeli army tightened what it called its encirclement of Palestinian cities in the West Bank in response to the violence after loosening the blockade in several areas during a lull in the unrest earlier in the week.

“The entry and exit (of Palestinians)… with the exception of humanitarian cases, will be prohibited,” an army statement said, referring to islands of territory under Palestinian control in the West Bank.

About 15,000 Palestinians held a march in Jenin to protest against the killings. “Give us guns and we will confront Israeli tanks,” the demonstrators chanted as they marched with banners and flags.

After 10 weeks of violent confrontation between Palestinians and Israelis, the death toll stands at more than 300.

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