One Dead, More Than 30 Wounded in Widespread Clashes
NABLUS, Occupied West Bank (AP) _ Israeli troops Tuesday shot and killed a Palestinian who ignored orders to halt. U.N. officials said baton-wielding troops clubbed 25 people in a Gaza Strip clinic.
The incidents occurred during widespread clashes between stone-throwing Palestinian demonstrators and Israeli troops in the occupied territories after the deaths of three Palestinians on Monday.
In addition to the reported beatings Tuesday, at least 34 Palestinians were shot and wounded, most in the occupied Gaza Strip, Arab hospital officials said. Ten of the gunshot wounds were reported in Gaza’s Jabaliya refugee camp, where the medical clinic was raided.
Army spokesmen confirmed the latest death and six of the injuries, adding other reports were being investigated.
Also Tuesday, the army blew up the houses in Nablus of two Palestinians accused of killing a soldier last month. Paratrooper Benny Meisner died Feb. 24 when a building block was dropped on his head from the roof of a house.
Israel radio carried the sound of the explosions, and jeering and whistling by protesting Palestinians could be heard in the background. Israel television said the two suspects confessed to the killing.
In another development, Israeli newspapers reported Tuesday that the army detained five soldiers suspected of extoring tens of thousands of dollars from Palestinians in the occupied Gaza Strip.
The reports said the soldiers allegedly held Palestinians at gunpoint while they frisked the men and searched their homes, taking tens of thousands of dollars, Israeli shekels and Jordanian dinars.
The military command said it was checking the reports.
In Nablus’ market, 18-year-old Hakam Baker was fatally shot in the neck and back by soldiers, hospital officials said.
An army spokesman, who cannot be identified by name under military rules, said Baker fled from an army patrol, ignoring orders to halt and warning shots fired in the air. He said the man had a record of anti-Israeli activities and was wanted on unspecified charges.
Baker was the 391st Palestinian to be killed since the uprising against Israeli rule in the territories erupted in December 1987. Seventeen Israelis also have died, six of them soldiers.
The fatal shooting occurred as the army conducted a major security sweep in the narrow, winding alleys of Nablus’ market, which has been a center of unrest.
The city of 120,000 people, the West Bank’s largest, was put under curfew, which restricts people to their homes. Troops with automatic rifles stood guard atop buildings along the main road into the city.
In the Gaza Strip, a Palestinian doctor said soldiers and border police barged into a medical clinic run by the U.N. Relief and Works Agency in the Jabaliya refugee camp. UNRWA supervises aid programs for Palestinian refugees.
The physician at the clinic, who identified himself only as Dr. Ahmed, told The Associated Press by telephone: ″We treated 45 cases of beatings, regular bullets, rubber bullets, and there were hundreds of relatives gathered in front of the clinic.″
Some of the relatives threw stones at soldiers, who chased Palestinians into the clinic, the doctor said.
Inside, the soldiers beat 25 people with nightsticks and broke all the windows, a microscope, a telephone and some syringes, he said.
″They beat some of the injured people we were treating,″ Dr. Ahmed said, adding three beating victims suffered factured skulls and were sent to a hospital.
An army spokesman said more than 1,000 people had gathered outside the clinic in Jabaliya and that preliminary reports indicated some Palestinians were wounded by soldiers.
But he was unable to give a specific number or any details concerning the actions of the soldiers inside the clinic. A radio report said several people were arrested, including one UNRWA worker.
Doctors at Ahli Arab Hospital in Gaza City said they treated 37 Palestinians for beating injuries, including some from Jabaliya. Among the wounded was a 2-year-old girl who suffered a broken leg in a clash with soldiers.
Among the deaths that spurred Tuesday’s unrest was that of Mahmoud Yousef Masri, 32, who died in a Gaza prison after several days of intensive questioning.
An autopsy conducted by the prison authority revealed that Masri died of natural causes and was not physically abused, Israel television reported.
The television said Masri had an ulcer condition and died in the corridor of the prison, not the interrogation room as had been alleged.
Justice Minister Dan Meridor told army radio Tuesday that he had heard no claims of torture in the case, but the death was being investigated.