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Protests Against Israel's Gaza Bombardment Spread

Massive protests are erupting across capitals in the Middle East and around the world in condemnation of Israel's deadly bombardment of the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip.

Thousands of Palestinians in Ramallah waved banners and chanted slogans in solidarity with their fellow Palestinians in Gaza, as Israeli security forces stood on high alert in the occupied West Bank. Israel placed the West Bank on a 48-hour lockdown, prohibiting movement into the occupied Palestinian territory except in emergency cases.

In Jordan, police fired tear gas at several protesters hurling rocks, who with about 1,500 other protesters gathered in front of the Israeli embassy in Amman.

In Egypt, hundreds of riot police were dispatched to two mosques in Cairo to block planned rallies in support of Gaza.

Thousands more worshippers marched in Damascus and Tehran following Friday-morning prayers, shouting slogans of "Death to Israel."

Elsewhere, in Indonesia, at least 10,000 people marched through the streets of Jakarta chanting "God is great" in Arabic outside the U.S. Embassy.

Thousands of Afghans held their own protest in Kabul, shouting slogans against Israel and the United States, and burning the countries' flags.

In Russia, police detained about 37 people for holding an unsanctioned protest outside the Israeli Embassy in Moscow.

Meanwhile, U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice gave a briefing outside the White House Friday, sharply rebuking Hamas for what she called holding the people of Gaza "hostage."

Rice says the U.S. is working alongside the Arab League, Europe and Israel to achieve a sustainable cease-fire.

The European Union and France are planning diplomatic missions to the Middle East to try to resolve the deadly conflict.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy met Friday with Lebanon's parliament majority leader Saad Hariri in Paris. Mr. Sarkozy will head to Israel, the West Bank, Egypt, Syria and Lebanon Monday and Tuesday to push for an end to the violence.

His trip will likely coincide with the EU's mission, which will make stops in Israel, the West Bank, Egypt and Jordan next week.

The Arab League and the United Nations Security Council held emergency meetings on the crisis this week. The Security Council rejected an Arab proposal to pass a resolution demanding an immediate ceasefire, saying more debate was needed on the issue.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.