Thousands of Palestinians took to the streets in the occupied West Bank city of Nablus on Sunday, as rallies were held worldwide marking the start of the Intifada.

One group of Palestinians held a banner reading: “As long as there is a single soldier or a Jewish settler pulling the trigger, we have to hit back the same way. If they pull the trigger with one finger, we should use 10 fingers.”

Palestinian Bassam Zakarneh, 36, a civil servant said: “At the end of the day, we are people under occupation that should be resisted. We may differ on the means of resistance but it should be resisted.”

Thousands of people also marched in the Gaza Strip for the third day running, pledging to fight on.

The mood was defiant and sombre rather than celebratory. At least 2480 Palestinians have been killed since the second Intifada erupted in September 2003.

On Friday, hundreds of Hamas supporters also turned out for the occasion in the central Gaza Strip refugee camp of Nasyriat. 

Uprising triggered

About 200 masked and gun-toting men paraded with models of the Qassam rockets used by the Hamas military wing and burnt a coffin covered with Israel and US flags.

Palestinians burn a model of an
Israeli F-16 warplane

Palestinians say the uprising was sparked by Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s  visit to al-Aqsa mosque, Islam’s third holiest site, on this day three years ago.

Hamas, the main driving force behind the Intifada released a statement confirming their intention to carry it on until Palestine is liberated.

"We affirm our determination to continue the Intifada until
occupation ends and we demand that the Palestinian Authority and new government resist pressure from the Americans and the Zionists aimed at ending our right to resist," read the statement.

"Resistance is the only language that the enemy understands and the only means to free Palestine from occupation," said a similar statement from Al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades, an offshoot of Palestinian leader Yasir Arafat's Fatah group.