Palestinian Police Kill Two Protesters at Pro-Bin Laden Rally

Palestinian police opened fire Monday on university students protesting the U.S.-led military strikes on Afghanistan, killing a 13-year-old boy and a 21-year-old man.

It marked the first time that Palestinian police have shot Palestinians since the protests against Israel began a year ago.

The worst internal fighting in several years also left 45 people wounded, police commander Ghazi Jabali said.

The shootings came as the Palestinian Authority tried to quell expressions of support for accused mastermind terrorist Usama bin Laden.

In Gaza City, more than 1,000 students from the Islamic University staged a march Monday, carrying bin Laden pictures and waving flags of the militant group Hamas.

The marchers shouted bin Laden's name and chanted: "Long live Palestine, long live Afghanistan, long live Islam."

Police restricted coverage of the march, ordering journalist at one point to leave the area.

After the march, dozens of students, some of them armed, waged a running battle with police who fired guns and tear gas in an attempt to break up the crowd.

A 13-year-old boy and a 21-year-old university student were killed in the fighting, police said. Forty-five people were hurt by tear gas, stones and bullets, doctors said. Among those were 10 policemen, including one who was shot, said the police chief, Ghazi Jabali.

In videotaped remarks aired across the Arab world Monday, bin Laden sought to draw a parallel between his confrontation with America and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Bin Laden said that "neither America nor the people who live in it will dream of security before we live it in Palestine."

Palestinian Information Minister Yasser Abed Rabbo said the Palestinian issue should not be used as an excuse for extremist political or religious positions.

"We don't want crimes committed in the name of Palestine," he said.

Rabbo said the Palestinian leadership had not decided whether it supports the U.S.-led attacks against Afghanistan. He said he expected the topic to be discussed during a meeting of Arab foreign ministers. No date had been set.

The official Palestinian response stood in marked contrast to the position adopted in 1990 when Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein said he was waging war with the United States on behalf of the Palestinians.

At the time, Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat sided with Saddam against the United States, a decision Palestinian officials have privately acknowledged was a mistake.

Arafat and several of his ministers were scheduled to travel to Cairo on Monday for talks with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak on events in Afghanistan.

Hamas, which has carried out dozens of suicide bombings in Israel and has condemned U.S. support for the Israelis, was relatively restrained in its response to the campaign against Afghanistan's ruling Taliban militia, which has been protecting bin Laden.

"We should boycott all American products and raise our voices against this new aggression against Islam," said Ismail Abu Shanab, a Hamas leader in Gaza.

Israelis, meanwhile, were told by their leaders they would probably not become a target of retaliatory strikes.

"There's no need to worry. We're not in this war," Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.