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Palestinians, Israelis battle

Thousands of Palestinians clashed with Israeli troops throughout the occupied West Bank on Saturday as widespread protests erupted in solidarity with Palestinian prisoners on a hunger strike.

At least 12 Palestinians were wounded when Israeli soldiers fired live ammunition and rubber bullets and used clubs and tear gas to disperse demonstrators in scenes reminiscent of the Palestinian uprising, or intifada.

One of the most intense clashes took place in Arab East Jerusalem outside PLO headquarters, known as Orient House. Eight Palestinians _ among them three Orient House security guards and a journalist _ were wounded.

Israel Radio said the clash erupted when Palestinian protesters began throwing stones and bottles at paramilitary border police. A PLO official accused troops of provoking demonstrators.

The demonstrations were the latest in a week of protests in solidarity with prisoners who went on hunger strike Sunday to press for their release.

About 5,000 Palestinians are still being held in Israeli jails. The PLO says Israel has agreed to release all Palestinian prisoners, but Israel responds that those convicted of killing Jews must remain behind bars.

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