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Violence Continues in Jerusalem - 2002-02-25

Two Palestinian gunmen have opened fire at a bus stop in East Jerusalem, wounding at least 10 Israelis. The shooting spree followed the deaths of two Israelis and two Palestinians killed in fresh violence in the West Bank.

Israeli police say the Palestinians sprayed people at the bus stop with gunfire in the Jewish neighborhood of Neve Ya'akov, built in a disputed area of East Jerusalem.

Police say one of the gunmen was killed and the other fled the scene.

The shooting occurred after two Israelis were killed when Palestinians opened fire on their car at a checkpoint close to a Jewish settlement near the West Bank town of Bethlehem.

The Israelis were in a convoy of cars that was ambushed by Palestinian gunmen.

The Israeli army says a pregnant woman was injured during the attack.

The Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, a group with links to Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat's Fatah faction, claimed responsibility for the ambush.

Near the city of Nablus a Palestinian man was killed when soldiers opened fire on his car at a roadblock. His pregnant wife and father were injured.

Near Tulkarm a Palestinian woman was shot and killed when she ran toward Israeli soldiers waving a knife.

Earlier, Israeli tanks pulled out of Palestinian-ruled areas in Ramallah, but remain deployed around the city's perimeter.

The move lifts the siege on Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat's headquarters, however the Israeli government is still restricting him from leaving Ramallah.

Israeli troops have kept Chairman Arafat under virtual house arrest, demanding that the Palestinians capture and hand over militants suspected of assassinating an Israeli cabinet minister last October.

Palestinians have arrested suspects in the case, but are refusing to extradite them to Israel.

European Union foreign policy chief Javier Solana, who is currently visiting the region, urged Israeli officials to allow Mr. Arafat to travel freely.

"I think that Arafat should have freedom of movement, total freedom of movement," said Mr. Solana. "I don't think it is a wise decision to give the situation of half freedom of movement. He has to have full freedom of movement. ... From my point of view the sooner he gets freedom of movement the better."

Israel surrounded Mr. Arafat's headquarters with tanks in early December, following a wave of deadly Palestinian suicide bombings inside the Jewish state.

Nearly 1,000 Palestinians and 300 Israelis have been killed since the Palestinian uprising against Israeli occupation began in September 2000.