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Israel Closes All Palestinian-Controlled AreasAired October 12, 2000 - 9:25 a.m. ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
BILL HEMMER, CNN ANCHOR: Once again, we want to bring you up to date on the very latest we're getting out of the Middle East. A very busy day, especially around the West Bank town of Ramallah. Earlier today, Israel is reporting that four Israeli soldiers were taken hostage. Two of them are said to have been killed. In addition to that, what you are seeing here is Israeli tanks perched on a hillside outside of Ramallah.
CNN's Ben Wedeman is there. He's reporting now that the Palestinian territories in the West Bank of Gaza have been closed, not uncommon in times of strife in the Middle East. In addition to that, Yasser Arafat now in a meeting with George Tenant, CIA director in Gaza City.
Sausan Ghosheh, a CNN producer, with us by telephone now. She is also in Ramallah.
Sausan, bring us up to date from your perspective and what you're seeing. What can you tell us?
SAUSAN GHOSHEH, CNN PRODUCER: I am standing outside of the police station here, where according to the Palestinians, two Israeli undercover police agents who were brought in, and then a crowd of Palestinians came in and took them out of there, and one was killed and one seriously wounded.
This police station is now is completely -- the top floor is completely down, and parts of the first floor. There is glass on the floor. People are very nervous. A lot of people with guns shouting, and helicopters hovering all over us. Three helicopters, and every time, they see the helicopters, they worry, and they go to their homes with panic and hysteria. They're are also cars going around and telling people to stay at home, because there are helicopters that are bombing the specific areas.
HEMMER: Sausan, you described the police headquarters, there, with the top floor, where those Israelis soldiers were held hours ago, has been destroyed. In addition to that, do you know if the firing came from Israeli helicopters or tanks just outside of town?
GHOSHEH: Helicopters. According to Palestinians here, and when I was in town, I saw them, I saw smoke coming out. It came from helicopters. They had hit the police station, they hit another police station, and Assidah (ph), which is on the other end of Ramallah, and they hit close to Arafat's office.
As I'm talking to you right now, there's a demonstration going on, the people just marching from the police station down. There have been some revenge caused against Israel.
HEMMER: Sausan, if you continue to hear me, obviously, the crowd, based on what we're hearing by way of telephone is quite vociferous. it was reported earlier, that up to a thousand people converge on that police station. Do the numbers indicate to you that indeed they're still that strong, that high, close to a thousand?
GHOSHEH: Right now?
HEMMER: Yes, correct.
GHOSHEH: Yes, right now, there is close to a thousand, if not more. More and more people are coming as we are speaking.
HEMMER: Throughout other parts in the West Bank, it's been reported through CNN's Ben Wedeman and others, that a number of streets actually have been vacated and were quite absence of people. Obviously, that's not the case where you are, correct?
GHOSHEH: I'm standing right in the middle of the action. I have been driving along the Ramallah before, and a lot of streets have been vacated, and the Israelis have lost the roads, and not allowing people to use certain roads, coming in to Ramallah and going out from Ramallah. And they've also lost people from the west and the east, coming in and out of the Ramallah. But here in downtown Ramallah, there is also a residential area and a business area. So it's very hard to block people from here, where the police station is, and there is tons of people coming down, very angry. Some civilians and some in the street with guns, and others without guns, and political figures, all walking down and calling that we can't be humiliated as the people.
HEMMER: Sausan, the helicopters overhead, are they still there? And if so, do you have a number?
GHOSHEH: I have seen three helicopters, two flying together and one flying separately.
HEMMER: In addition to that, I'm not sure you're fluency in Arabic, but clarify on this matter. Again, what do you seem to interpret based on the chanting you're hearing around you?
GHOSHEH: A lot of anger, a lot of resent, a lot of people thinking that the peace process is going into shambles.
HEMMER: OK, Sausan Ghosheh there in Ramallah, the West Bank town.
It has been, once again, a flashpoint yet again today. It has been that way for the better part of 15 days. And there are different parts of the Middle East, certainly, in this matter that tend to flare up more than others. Ramallah has been one of them. We'll keep a check on it throughout the day here.
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