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Muslim refugees demonstrate in Lebanon

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October 14, 2000 


BEIRUT, OCT 13 (AP) - Enraged Palestinian refugees in Lebanon and Arabs and Muslims across the Middle East demonstrated over the worst violence in the West Bank and Gaza Strip in decades as their leaders berated Israel for its attacks on Palestinian targets.

Some 7,000 Palestinian marchers in Ein el-Hilweh, Lebanon's largest refugee camp, protested Israel's rocketing on Thursday of Palestinian command centers. Israel was retaliating for the mob killing of two Israeli soldiers in the West Bank town of Ramallah.

The crowd from various Palestinians factions carried banners condemning the Israeli "massacre" and calling on Arab countries at peace with Israel - namely Egypt and Jordan - to sever relations.

Palestinian youths set fire to an effigy of Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak wearing a T-Shirt splashed with red and the words "specialized in murdering children." Another effigy of U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright on which was scrawled "scum of the earth" also was set ablaze.

Palestinians declared Friday - the Muslim Sabbath - a "day of rage." The leader of Iranian-backed Hezbollah guerrillas who captured three Israeli soldiers on the Lebanese border last week called on Arabs to take to the streets Friday after Islamic noon prayers to protest the Israeli actions.

In Bahrain, scores of demonstrators, including women clad in chadors, marched down the island's commercial, Diplomatic Area in the capital, shouting "Death to America" and "Death to Israel" after prayers.

"The Palestinians are our Muslim brothers and we will give our blood to help them defeat the enemy," said Abdullah, 27, who gave only his first name.

During prayers at Tehran University, Ahmad Jannati, a senior cleric and secretary of the powerful Guardian Counsel, urged the international community to speak out against Israel.

"Why should some kids who are throwing stones ... be killed cruelly by the Zionists?" he said, his voice breaking with emotion.

"Damn the United States for its shameful support. What kind of people are in the U.S. congress, and how can one call them human beings?"

The prayer leader at Cairo's Al-Azhar mosque in Egypt urged his congregation to forswear violence, but angry worshippers shouted "Jihad!" - "Holy war!" - into his microphone as the noon prayer service ended, then hundreds stormed out of the mosque chanting "Where is the Egyptian army?" The protest ended with clashes with Egyptian police.

Arab leaders, meanwhile, denounced Israel's use of tanks and helicopters against Palestinian targets Thursday.

"Israel has once again shown that there are no limits to its brutality," Lebanese Prime Minister Salim Hoss said in a statement issued by his office.

In Kuwait, Foreign Minister Sheik Sabah Al Ahmed Al Sabah condemned "the vicious Israeli aggression against the unarmed Palestinian people."

In comments to the Kuwaiti news agency, KUNA, Sabah called on all Arab and Muslim nations as well as the world community to help stop this "deliberate sabotage of all sincere efforts for a real and just peace in the area."

In remarks published Friday, Iraqi President Saddam Hussein urged Arab states at peace with Israel to expel Israeli ambassadors and revoke their agreements with the Jewish state.


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