GAZA, Apr. 12, 01 ( - A Palestinian priest has
called for Pope John Paul II's help in securing
independence during a funeral for the first Palestinian
Christian killed in Gaza during the current uprisings.

Father Manawel Musalam said at the funeral for policeman
Elias Eid, 50, who was killed on Wednesday during an
Israeli attack on the Khan Younis refugee camp, "Dear Pope,
raise your voice and call for the liberation of
Palestinians." He added, "Ariel Sharon, man of blood, get
out of our land."

Palestinian officials said Eid was the first Palestinian
Christian in Gaza killed by Israeli forces since the
uprising began nearly seven months ago. At least one
Palestinian Christian has been killed in the West Bank,
hospital officials said.

Top Palestinian Authority and PLO factional officials
marched in Eid's funeral. "Fatah will avenge the blood of
our hero, Eid. We will strike back against the Zionists,"
an activist from the PLO's main faction said over a
loudspeaker. "The blood of Eid reinforced the unity of
Palestinians, Muslims, and Christians," he said, while
others fired their rifles in the air.