Troops Kill Three Palestinians on West Bank
JERUSALEM (AP) _ Israeli troops killed two Palestinians in the West Bank Saturday, and Arab reports said the soldiers then fatally shot a 14-year-old Arab girl during protests touched off by the earlier deaths.
Also Saturday, a Palestinian guerrilla crossed the border from Jordan, killed an Israeli soldier and wounded two others before he was killed by soldiers near an Israeli communal farm, the army said.
The army said the first two Palestinians killed in the West Bank city of Nablus were ″terrorists,″ a term usually used to describe armed attackers. An army spokeswoman said they were part of a group planning an attack and the army had arrested three others.
Arab reports, witnesses and said the two were killed in a pre-dawn shootout between Israeli soldiers and an armed Arab group. It was only the second shootout reported in the 20-month-old Palestinian protest of Israeli occupation.
Israel television showed a villa in Nablus that it said served as a hideout for the gang. Troops raided the villa and fatally shot two of the men hiding inside as they tried to escape through a window, the report said.
The army issued a statement late Saturday blaming the armed Palestinian group for a chain of attacks and killings of Palestinians suspected of collaborating with Israeli occupation authorities.
One of the Palestinians killed, 19-year-old Amar Muhamed Khanis Kalbune, was wanted for killing an Israeli reservist in February by dropping a concrete block on his head in a Nablus marketplace, the army said.
The other Palestinian killed in the clash, 24-year-old Iman Shafik Muhammed Jamus, was wanted for killings and attacks on suspected collaborators around Nablus, the statement said.
The army said it seized weapons Saturday, and Armed Forces radio said they included grenades, ammunition, swords and axes.
The army’s statement said the three arrested group members are all suspected in attacks on purported collaborators.
Protests erupted in Nablus after the shootings, Arab reports said. Muna Tamaam, 14, was fatally shot by soldiers while she participated in a student demonstration, the Arab reports said.
The army spokeswoman said she was checking on the report.
In addition, at least 13 Arabs were wounded during the protests, Arab reports said.
The army imposed a curfew and declared Nablus a closed military zone. The city has been a hub of unrest during the uprising.
In the occupied Gaza Strip on Saturday, a man identified as Abdul Rahman Abu Shaluf was found dead, Arab reports said.
Some Arab reports said he was a smuggler and drug dealer, and others said he was also suspected of collaborating with Israel. They said he was shot with a pistol by masked Palestinians in the Rafah marketplace on Saturday.
Saturday’s deaths brought to 557 the number of Palestinians killed by troops or Jewish settlers during the uprising. In addition, 104 Arabs, mostly suspected collaborators, have been killed by fellow Arabs.
Thirty-nine Israelis also have been killed.
Soldiers shot and wounded at seven others in clashes in the Gaza Strip on Saturday, including a 9-year-old boy.
A Palestinian wounded last week in unclear circumtances died Saturday in east Jerusalem’s Mokassed hospital.
The man was wounded in the head, and Arab reports said he was injured by a settler who stoned him on the Jerusalem-Hebron road.
The army said it was investigating.
Early Saturday, a patrol clashed with a Palestinian who had infiltrated from Jordan, and the guerrilla and an Israeli trooper were killed, the army said. Two others were wounded, the army said.
The guerrilla was wearing civilian clothes and had a pistol and a Soviet- made Kalashnikov rifle, the army said. Chief of Staff Gen. Dan Shomron said the gunman was a member of a Palestine Liberation Organization faction.
The clash took place near Kibbutz Kefar Ruppin, a communal farm on the Jordanian border 48 miles northeast of Jerusalem.