JERUSALEM — A Palestinian woman was fatally shot Saturday when Israeli soldiers opened fire to disperse hundreds of Arab protesters at a West Bank refugee camp near Hebron, the army announced.
The army also reported that five Arabs were wounded by soldiers in scattered protests throughout the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip. A hospital source said a sixth Arab was shot in the back during a nighttime clash in Anata, several miles north of Jerusalem.
Army officials said they are investigating the death of the woman at the Arrub refugee camp. They said troops had imposed a curfew on the camp but gave no further details.
State-run Israel Radio, however, reported that the woman was in a crowd of hundreds of refugees who threw stones at soldiers in a violent demonstration inside the camp. The troops first fired rubber bullets into the crowd but opened up with live ammunition when they feared for their lives, the radio said.
The death brought to at least 41 the number of Arabs killed since violent anti-Israeli unrest erupted Dec. 9 in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
In Anata, riot police fired tear gas and rubber bullets at an estimated 600 Arab protesters who were throwing stones and firebombs, Israel Radio said.
Demonstrators, called into the streets by loudspeakers, rolled boulders onto the main highway and police charged into the village to arrest rioters, the broadcast said.
Earlier Saturday, border police fired tear gas to disperse about 50 rock-throwing youths in Anata, who blocked a road leading to a Jewish settlement.
One police officer was injured and two demonstrators were arrested in clashes in Arab East Jerusalem, police and Israel Radio said. Hospitals in Gaza City reported treating 12 Palestinians for beating injuries.
At the Aqabat Jaber refugee camp, youths blocked the car of Israeli-appointed Mayor Jamil Sabri Khalaf of Jericho and smashed the windshield. A Jericho police officer said the assailants had sought out Khalaf.
"He was on TV two weeks ago, saying there are no problems in Jericho, only at the refugee camp. That's why people are mad at him," said the officer, speaking on condition of anonymity.
In Silwan, a Jerusalem neighborhood, Arab protesters stoned police vehicles, blocked roads with burning tires and unfurled the outlawed Palestinian flag, said police spokesman Rafi Levy.
In the government, Israel's right-wing Housing Minister David Levy announced he would break ground at three new settlements near Arab villages in the northern Samaria region.
The government approved the settlements near Megiddo in Wadi Ara 10 years ago, but they were not built because of lack of funding, Israel Radio reported.
Levy told Israel Radio, "The recent disturbances in the Wadi Ara area were sufficent incentive to divert funds for the immediate implementation of the plan."