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Middle East

'Bomb Tel Aviv' West Bank protesters urge Hamas

Masked Palestinian youths throw stones as they clash with Israeli security forces in the West Bank village of al-Khader, near Bethlehem, on November 15, 2012. AFP PHOTO/MUSA AL SHAER

RAMALLAH, West Bank: Thousands of angry Palestinians rallied across the West Bank on Friday, urging Hamas militants to "bomb Tel Aviv" as Israel pursued a relentless air campaign on the Gaza Strip.

More than 1,000 protesters gathered in central Ramallah, shouting slogans of support for Gaza's Hamas rulers, and waving the Islamist movement's green flag, AFP correspondents said.

"Hamas, bomb Tel Aviv!" they chanted a day after a rocket from Gaza struck the sea just offshore from the sprawling coastal city.

Coincidentally, a loud blast rocked Tel Aviv on Friday afternoon as sirens wailed to warn of an incoming rocket for the second day running, an AFP correspondent at the scene said.

Police said sirens had sounded but could not immediately confirm that anything had hit the Tel Aviv area.

Protesters also held up huge pictures of top Hamas military chief Ahmed Jaabari, whose death in an Israeli air strike on Gaza City on Wednesday sparked the latest bloody escalation.

Similar scenes took place in the northern city of Nablus, where more than 3,000 people called on Hamas militants to "Bomb Tel Aviv," another correspondent said.

Hamas flags were everywhere and angry demonstrators burned an Israeli flag, chanting "Death to Israel," he said.

In annexed east Jerusalem, another 200 protesters gathered at the Damascus Gate into the Old City, with police arresting five for "disturbing public order," police and an AFP correspondent said.

Since Wednesday's strike, Israel has carried out hundreds of attacks on targets in Gaza. On Friday morning, two more Palestinians, including a child, were killed. That raised the overall toll to 20, with more than 240 injured, medics said.

In the same period, militants have fired around 300 rockets over the border, killing three Israelis.

 

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