Since the first deaths in al-Aqsa Intifada on 29 September 2000, 3497 people have been killed, according to the news agency AFP.

Reflecting the unevenness of the conflict and their relative armed strength, Palestinians have borne the brunt of fatalities and casualties.

Of those killed, 2612 were Palestinians and 822 Israelis, with the remainder made up of foreign nationals.

The Palestinians who died were mainly civilians or demonstrators, but the total includes about 130 bombers who died carrying out anti-Israeli operations.

Palestinian medical sources say almost 24,500 Palestinians have been wounded by Israeli gunfire.

“I recognise we’re paying a high price. But with the Israelis using such heavy weapons and intense military force, we can’t avoid that"

Dr Ahmad Subh,
spokesman, 
Palestinian interior ministry

“We’re seeking to reduce our losses but it’s not our choice,” said Palestinian interior ministry spokesman Dr Ahmad Subh. “I recognise we’re paying a high price. But with the Israelis using such heavy weapons and intense military force, we can’t avoid that.

"Resistance is our duty and our right," he told Aljazeera.net. "We can't accept the occupation, its practices and measures. (Israeli Prime Minister) Ariel Sharon is not offering serious peace negotiations. But there's no military solution."

Israeli deaths

Three-quarters of the Israelis killed were officially civilians (though this figure includes an unknown number of soldiers off duty, often termed civilains by the Israelis). Half of them died in the 127 attacks by human bombers carried out inside Israel.

Figures collated by the Israeli army show that nearly 4200 Israelis have been wounded in the three years of violence.

Of the 18,870 Palestinian attacks registered by the Israeli army, 95% were carried out in the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip, but most Israeli victims were killed in attacks on Israeli soil.

Protesters in Cairo decry Israeli
and US occupation of Arab lands

Israeli official spokespeople were not immediately available for comment. But the Israelis have consistently blamed the Palestinian Authority for being responsible for the deaths of its people, and said Israeli soldiers who killed Palestinians acted in self-defence.

The Intifada started on 29 September 2000 when bloody clashes broke out between Israeli police and Palestinian demonstrators at al-Aqsa mosque compound in Jerusalem's Old City. Seven Palestinians were killed.

The protests erupted after the then Israeli opposition leader, Ariel Sharon, now prime minister, paid a provocative visit to the compound the previous day.

Egyptians show support

Following demonstrations and protests in support of the Palestinians in dozens of cities around the world over the weekend, there were further shows of support in the Arab world on Sunday.

About 300 Egyptians ignored official bans and staged a rally in Cairo in support of the Palestinians and Iraqis, amid a heavy police presence on the third anniversary of the uprising.

Protesters waving Iraqi and Palestinian flags in a busy square in downtown Cairo shouted “Palestine is Arab”, “Iraq and Palestine are the same cause”, and “Iraq is an Arab country, not an American garrison”, AFP reported.

Protesters also carried banners calling on Arab countries to "close enemy embassies and save Palestine and Iraq", alluding to the embassies of Israel and the United States.

They were surrounded by anti-riot police, while police also deployed in force along neighbouring streets. Demonstrations have been forbidden in Egypt under emergency laws since 1981, though the authorities tolerate some tightly-controlled rallies.