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Arab Protests Spark Violence in Gaza : Israeli Soldiers Wound 25 in Several Clashes, Palestinians Charge

October 11, 1987|Associated Press

JERUSALEM — Israeli soldiers shot and wounded up to 25 Palestinians in the Gaza Strip on Saturday, and gunmen critically wounded an Israeli man in Jerusalem, according to Palestinian sources and police.

The shootings came as Arabs protested the earlier killings of four Palestinian guerrillas in a gun battle with security forces.

An army spokesman said seven Palestinians were wounded by gunfire in separate disturbances in and around Gaza City, capital of the Israeli-occupied Gaza Strip. But according to reports from the Arab-owned Palestine Press Service, at least 25 people--all Palestinians--were wounded.

In Jerusalem, police spokesman Rafi Levy said a 24-year-old Israeli man was shot in the head Saturday evening as he walked near the Damascus Gate entrance to Jerusalem's walled Old City. Ten Arab suspects were arrested, Levy said.

The man, identified as Yigal Shahas, was reported in critical condition at Jerusalem's Hadassah Hospital.

At the Islamic University in Gaza City, Israeli troops fired on demonstrators who threw stones and shouted anti-Israeli slogans, the army spokesman said. He said three students were wounded slightly.

But the Palestine Press Service quoted witnesses as saying 13 students were wounded by gunfire, one seriously. The witnesses were quoted as saying that some of the wounded were treated on the spot because the army prevented ambulances from entering the university.

In another incident, at least eight Palestinians were wounded when troops opened fire to disperse about 1,500 demonstrators throwing stones in central Gaza City, Palestinian news reports said. The Israeli army spokesman said he could not confirm those reports.

The demonstrators were protesting the killing of four Palestinian guerrillas at the entrance to Gaza City on Tuesday night. An Israeli security officer also was killed in that gun battle.

Army officers said the guerrillas carried automatic weapons and intended to carry out a terrorist attack in Israel.

The Palestinian reports said most Gaza City shopkeepers were observing a strike Saturday to protest the deaths.

Israel captured the Gaza Strip from Egypt during the 1967 Middle East War. It is home to about 600,000 Palestinians, mostly refugees, and about 2,000 Jewish settlers.

Also on Saturday, army gunfire wounded three Palestinians when they drove through a roadblock at a southern entrance to Gaza, an army spokesman said.

Another Palestinian was wounded when soldiers shot him as he walked on the street near Shiffa Hospital, the spokesman said. He said soldiers suspected the man was carrying a firebomb and fired when he refused to follow their orders to stop.

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