Armed Palestinians Parade in Nablus as Violence Continues
Around 200 armed and masked Palestinians gathered in the center of the West Bank city of Nablus early Tuesday, hours after Israel decided to extend a deadline for an end to violence in the territories.
The Fatah movement of Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat "has decided to form a militia in this critical situation in order to defend the Palestinian people whose blood is being spilled without any protection or objection from the rest of the world," said a statement read out by one of the masked men.
Violence continued early Tuesday when Jewish settlers attacked Arab houses in the West Bank village of Yatma near Nablus.
Witnesses told AFP that the settlers fired shots at several houses in the village. There were no immediate reports of casualties.
The West Bank has been at the center of a wave of violence over the last 13 days in which nearly 100 people have been killed in clashes, which have pitted Palestinians and Israeli Arabs against the Israeli army and Jewish settlers.
More than 2,000 people have been injured in the violence, sparked by the visit of Israel's rightwing opposition leader Ariel Sharon to Jerusalem's disputed mosque compound on September 28.
Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak said Tuesday Israel would give the Palestinians "three or four days" more to end the violence in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, following a marathon emergency cabinet meeting in Tel Aviv.
"We have bowed to the requests of many world leaders and we have agreed to extend the delay by three or four days," Barak said in an interview on public radio, referring to a two-day ultimatum which expired late Monday.
"If the violence does not end, it will mean that the Palestinian Authority and Yasser Arafat want to abandon the process for a political settlement.” -- NABLUS, West Bank (AFP)
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