Palestinians Conditionally Accept Ceasefire, Sunday’s Death Toll Rises to 12
The Palestinian Authority announced Sunday that it had conditionally accepted a ceasefire offer it said had been made by Israel to end the bloodshed that has cost 36 lives in three days.
"We have accepted an Israeli proposal for a ceasefire on condition Israel withdraw its troops and a commission of enquiry be set up" to investigate Friday's killings in Jerusalem's mosque compound, a close aide to Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat told AFP.
Nabil Abu Rudeina said Israel had proposed a ceasefire from 1700 GMT (8 p.m.) but Israeli officials have not confirmed it.
Twelve people including the first member of Israel's security forces, were killed and almost 300 injured in bloody clashes that swept across the Palestinian territories Sunday and spilled over to Israel.
In all, 34 Palestinians and one Arab Israeli protestor and one Arab Israeli border guard have been killed or declared clinically dead over the past four days.
Two Israeli soldiers were also killed earlier in separate incidents last week.
The clashes were sparked by a visit Thursday by Israeli opposition leader Ariel Sharon to the al-Aqsa mosque compound in occupied east Jerusalem, a site held sacred by both Jews and Muslims.
In the deadliest confrontation Sunday, five Palestinians were killed in the West Bank town of Ramallah, one a 16-year-old and the rest believed to be members of the Palestinian security forces.
In Nablus, a seven-year old boy died after being hit in the heart by shots fired from an Israeli helicopter as he was standing on the roof of his home, his family said.
An 18-year-old youth and a member of the Palestinian security forces were also shot dead in Nablus during fierce gun battles near Joseph's tomb, a site revered by Jews, where helicopters were also seen firing on demonstrators.
It was during the fighting around Joseph's tomb that the Israeli border guard received his fatal injuries. Israel's deputy chief of staff Moshe Yaalon told Israeli television that the helicopters opened fire in a bid to evacuate him.
Some 20 Palestinians were also injured in the unrest and witnesses said Israel tanks rolled in towards two entrances of the town as darkness fell.
Separately, the body of an 18-year-old Palestinian was found, apparently dead from wounds he suffered Saturday in Nablus.
In the Gaza Strip, a 10-year-old boy was declared clinically dead after being hit by a live bullet in Rafah near the border with Egypt, while a Palestinian man was killed in a gun battle near the Jewish settlement of Netzarim.
Another 77 people were injured in the Gaza Strip.
At Umm el-Fahm in Israel, Omri Ahmed Jabarin, 21, became the first Israeli Arab to die when police opened fire on demonstrators who blocked a main road and were throwing stones.
Witnesses said more than 50 Israeli Arabs were injured in clashes round Umm el-Fahm and other towns in Arab areas of northern Israel.
Elsewhere in the West Bank, some 82 people were injured in and around the divided town of Hebron, 48 hurt in Bethlehem and surrounding area, while around 17 were hurt in Tulkarem and in Jenin in the north of the West Bank.
On the Israeli side, the army said two soldiers were slightly injured in gun battles in Netzarim in the Gaza Strip and Hebron, while Israeli radio reported that a soldier was in a critical condition after being shot during an exchange of fire in Nablus.
Seven Palestinians were killed in the first day of deadly clashes on Friday at the al-Aqsa mosque compound and a further 16 died Saturday as the violence spread to the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
Over the past four days, dozens of police and soldiers have been injured, mostly by stones thrown by demonstrating Palestinians.
In separate incidents an Israeli soldier was shot dead in the West Bank on Friday and another was killed in a bomb attack near a Jewish settlement in the Gaza Strip on Wednesday -- (AFP)
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