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Police Use Tear Gas, Rubber Bullets to Disperse East Jerusalem Rally

Israeli police fired tear gas and rubber bullets during a day of intermittent riots in the Old City and other parts of East Jerusalem on Thursday.

According to one report, four Palestinian women and a 12-year-old girl were hospitalized for gas inhalation and bullet wounds.

The outburst of violence after a period of relative quiet in Jerusalem was linked to doubts recently expressed by the Bush administration over the status of East Jerusalem, which Israel annexed in 1967.

Israelis were deeply disturbed, while Palestinians seemed encouraged.

The morning began peacefully when about 150 Palestinian women gathered in the Moslem Quarter of the Old City to celebrate International Women’s Day.

It is supposed to be a festive occasion, but Palestinian flags soon appeared and nationalist slogans were shouted from the crowd and waved from signs.

Police dispersed the women with tear gas. As Palestinian youths escorted them through the Damascus Gate, demonstrators pelted the police with stones and empty bottles.

They rampaged down Saladin Street, the main thoroughfare in East Jerusalem, overturning an Israeli car.

Police again fired gas and rubber bullets. At least 10 arrests were made.

Scattered unrest continued in the Old City throughout the day. By evening, police detained several Arab youths accused of stoning students at the Shuvu Banim Yeshiva in the Moslem Quarter.

An Egged bus driver was hit in the eye by a large stone as he drove through northern Jerusalem from Eilat. He was taken to Hadassah Hospital.

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