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CNN SATURDAY MORNING NEWS

Bush Calls for Israel to Withdraw From Some Palestinian Cities

Aired April 6, 2002 - 07:13   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
KYRA PHILLIPS, CNN ANCHOR: We're going to go live now to the Middle East for the latest developments. Our Chris Burns is covering the crisis from Jerusalem.

Hello Chris.

CHRIS BURNS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi Kyra.

Well, President Bush was asking the Israelis to put their tanks in reverse. That effect has not taken hold yet. The fierce fighting continues. The Israelis are pushing deeper into the biggest city in West -- in the West Bank, Nablus, into its historic Casbah, as well as in Jenin, which has a very, very large, sprawling refugee camp.

Now, both cities have very, very narrow, winding streets and very difficult to move tanks into many of those areas. So the Israelis are fighting house to house, street to street. Gun battles are going on, raging on in those streets. The Israelis backed up by helicopter gunships, some reports from the Palestinian say -- claiming that there's some indiscriminate fire, that some civilian homes have been fired on. That fighting raging on.

Five Palestinians killed in Jenin, five killed in Nablus, according to Palestinian sources. Three Israeli troops were killed in Jenin in the last 24 hours. In Jenin, cement blocks were erected by Palestinians to try to prevent the Israelis from moving in. They simply crashed through homes with their bulldozers.

So this goes on right now as well on the -- in the Gaza Strip, there was a clash between Palestinian gunmen. Two were killed as they tried to enter an Israeli Jewish settlement, Rafayam (ph) in the south Gaza Strip. That's according to Israeli authorities.

And so that fighting does go on, as I say, in the West Bank.

Meanwhile, in Ramallah on the West Bank, where Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat has his bombed-out, shelled-out compound, where he's hunkering down there, there were reports from Saeb Erakat, the chief Palestinian negotiator, earlier saying that he had lost contact with Arafat. However, Erakat came back in the last couple of hours saying he has reestablished contact.

However, the electricity and water is still cut off there, a very desperate -- dire situation. This, of course, also all in the context of a planned visit next week by Secretary of State Colin Powell as he tries to broker some kind of peace, some kind of cease-fire. At this point, there doesn't seem any indication that this fighting is even starting to lessen, but we have a few more days before Colin Powell does arrive -- Kyra.

PHILLIPS: Chris Burns, live from Jerusalem, thank you.

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