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12 Palestinians Killed in Clashes

September 30, 2000

JERUSALEM (AP) _ Israeli troops battling several gunmen and thousands of rock-throwing Palestinians opened fire on the rioters Saturday, killing 12 Palestinians and wounding 523 in the bloodiest confrontations in the West Bank and Gaza Strip since 1996.

Among those killed was a 12-year-old boy who was caught in the cross fire. The boy, Rami Aldura, and his father, were crouched behind a metal barrel, trying to seek cover and pleading for a cease-fire. The father held his hand protectively over the boy, who was screaming with fear, only to see his son fatally shot in the stomach.

At issue was a dispute over a bitterly contested Jerusalem shrine sacred to Muslims and Jews.

``The battle over Jerusalem has begun,″ said Bassem Naim, a Palestinian activist, as thousands of protesters chanting the Muslim battle cry ``Allahu Akbar,″ or God is Great, marched toward an Israeli army position.

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