Arafat and Jose Maria Aznar at yesterday's meeting.

Palestinan President Yasser Arafat, who flew into Palma on Friday night from Tunisia to attend the Mediterranean Security Summit at the Hotel Formentor near Pollensa, yesterday welcomed Spain's support for an international inquiry into Israeli-Palestinian clashes in which at least 81 people, mainly Palestinians, have been killed. “It is time to stop these killings against the Palestinian people,” Arafat told reporters at an annual seminar on security. “That can only happen...with an international commission including the sponsor of the peace process which is the United States, the European Union, (the U.N.*s) Annan, experts and others, Arabs and others,“ Arafat said. Spanish Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar told a news conference he backed the idea of an enquiry, set up under United Nations auspices, which would pass its findings to U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan. “Given the events of the last few days, I have expressed my support for the creation of a verification commission,” Aznar said. The body would include representatives from Israel and the Palestinian Authority as well as the United States, the European Union and Arab nations, he added. Violent clashes between Palestinians and Israelis continued in the Gaza Strip and on the Lebanese-Israeli border yesterday claiming at least three more Palestinian lives. At least 81 people, most of them Palestinians, have been killed since Israeli opposition leader Ariel Sharon enraged Palestinians by visiting a holy shrine in Jerusalem sacred to both Muslims and Jews on September 28. Arafat said in Majorca yesterday, before returning to Gaza, that the three new deaths raised the total to 113, well above the figure Reuters has compiled from Palestinian health and hospital officials.

Last week, the European Commission said it was ready to take part in any international inquiry into the violence and the U.N.*s Annan has backed the idea.