JERUSALEM, Nov. 17 (AP) -- Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat on Friday ordered gunmen to stop shooting at Israelis from areas under his full control, the first sign he may be ceding to U.S. and Israeli demands to order a cease-fire explicitly.

It was not clear whether Arafat had taken a step toward a full-fledged truce or was simply trying to minimize Palestinian casualties.

Israel, which maintains that the vast majority of gunbattles in the past seven weeks of fighting have been initiated by Palestinians, has made such a public call a condition for reconvening peace talks.

Arafat's comments came as four Palestinians who were throwing stones at Israeli troops were killed Friday in clashes in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

Speaking after Friday prayers in the Gaza Strip, Arafat said he was making every effort to stop Palestinian gunfire. It was his first public reference to the order to halt the fire from areas under complete Palestinian control, first released by Palestinian security officials in Gaza. His comments were broadcast on Palestinian state radio and television stations.

``We are trying our best to get our people to stop shooting'' from Palestinian-controlled areas, Arafat said. ``There are orders from the Palestinian security council to stop shooting.''

Prime Minister Ehud Barak responded that Israel was waiting to see the Palestinians follow through with action, his office said. Speaking to a delegation of French Jewish leaders, Barak said the government wanted peace but must protect the nation's vital interests even at the cost of confrontation.

Shortly after Arafat's call to halt the shooting, a gunbattle broke out in the West Bank at Ayosh Junction on the outskirts of Palestinian-controlled Ramallah. An Israeli tank shelled an empty building thought to have shielded gunmen. The Voice of Palestine radio said there were no injuries.

Gunfire from Palestinian-controlled areas has occurred daily during the latest unrest. Police under Arafat's Palestinian Authority have often joined Tanzim militiamen, part of Arafat's Fatah political movement, in firing on Israeli military positions and settlements.

The weeks of violence have left at least 230 people dead, the vast majority of them Palestinians. Fighting continued throughout the region Friday.

A Palestinian visiting from Jordan was killed in a clash between Palestinians and Israeli forces near the West Bank city of Qalqilya. Hospital doctors said he was hit by live ammunition. The Israeli military said there were clashes but that soldiers did not fire live bullets on the area.

Three Palestinian teen-agers were killed in clashes Friday. In the West Bank town of Hebron, Hamza Abu Shikadm, 14, was shot in the head by a live bullet and south of Hebron, in Halul village, Muhammad Abu Raian, 16, was shot in the chest by live fire, hospital officials said.

In Karni, in the southern Gaza Strip, Rami Yassin, 17, was also shot to death during clashes, according to hospital officials there.

Both sides had braced for violence after mosque services Friday, the Muslim Sabbath: Trying to head off anticipated riots in Jerusalem, police banned Muslim men under the age of 45 from entering the disputed Al Aqsa Mosque area.

In recent weeks, young Palestinians have poured out of mosques and moved straight into confrontations with the Israeli forces at roadblocks in the West Bank and Gaza. Despite the worries, prayers ended peacefully Friday.

Israeli soldiers had opened fire before dawn Friday on Palestinian gunmen shooting at a Jewish settlement near the West Bank town of Jericho, and two Palestinian policemen were killed, Palestinian security officials said.

The officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the policemen were not involved in the shooting. Instead, they were trying to stop the gunmen from shooting at the Vered Yericho settlement.

The Israeli military also said its forces initiated an operation in the Jericho area to eliminate the nightly gunfire. The Israeli soldiers exchanged fire with an armed Palestinian force, the military said, and hit the gunmen.

The Palestinians planned to present a proposal to the U.N. Security Council on Friday for an unarmed 2,000-member international protection force, said Nasser Al-Kidwa, the Palestinian observer at the United Nations.

Israel opposes posting an international force in the West Bank and Gaza. U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan has said no force can be sent unless both sides agree. Late Thursday, Barak's office said Israel would not object to international supervision of any peace agreement negotiated between Israel and the Palestinians.

But peace seemed far off. Though U.S. Middle East peace envoy Dennis Ross met both Barak and Arafat, Barak said there are no negotiations now, and there will not be talks unless the violence is reduced significantly.

However, a senior official in the radical Palestinian group Hamas said in an interview published Friday that suicide attacks will resume in Israel and the Palestinian territories.

``Yes, there will be suicide attacks. Weak people, if they are boxed into a corner, will use every means to defend themselves,'' Khaled Mashaal told the French daily Liberation.

Scores of Israelis were killed in bomb attacks in Palestinian suicide missions during the mid-1990s. There has only been one suicide bombing during the recent upsurge of fighting and it was claimed by the Islamic Jihad militant group.

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