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Troops Kill One Palestinian, Wound Nine Others

May 18, 1988

JERUSALEM (AP) _ Hundreds of Arabs surrounded an Israeli force in the occupied West Bank today and attacked them with stones and slingshots, the army said. The troops killed one Palestinian and wounded at least four others in the clash.

Hospital officials and witnesses said nine people were wounded by gunfire when Arab youths battled hundreds of soldiers in helicopters, army vehicles and bulldozers in two West Bank villages. Five Palestinians were taken with Ramallah Hospital after being beaten, witnesses said.

The army said the clashes occurred during pre-dawn searches in the villages of Abwein and Aurura about nine miles north of Ramallah.

″An Israeli force reached the villages ... and was surrounded by hundreds of Arabs, some of whom climbed nearby hills and attacked the force with a barrage of stones and with slingshots,″ the army statement said.

The army said a commander fired rubber bullets, tear gas and live ammunition to extricate the force, killing one and wounding four.

Five Arabs were also injured by rubber bullets and tear gas, the army spokesman said.

The clashes in the West Bank came on the final day of the three-day Moslem feast of Id el Fitr. Underground Arab uprising leaders called for the holiday to be one of ″national mourning″ for the deaths of 191 Palestinians since Dec. 8. Two Israelis also have been killed in the uprising.

Witnesses said troops entered the village of Arura about 4 a.m. and began house-to-house searches.

About 300 youths gathered outdoors in the village and threw stones at the soldiers, said a 19-year-old Arura man who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity.

Troops rounded up and detained several hundred Arura youths, said the man, who spoke from a hospital bed.

About two hours later, troops began moving into the neighboring village of Abuwein, where they also conducted house-to-house searches, witnesses said.

″They invaded the village, but the kids went into the hills and threw stones,″ said Mariam Hamad, 50, of Abuwein.

The Palestinian killed today was identified as Majdi Youssef Hilal, 16, who was struck with a bullet in the chest, said Dr. Yasser Obeid, director of Ramallah Hospital.

Nine others were shot, including a 27-year-old woman who was in critical condition at east Jerusalem’s Mukassad Hospital, Obeid said.

Obeid initially put the number of wounded at 10.

Also today, military sources said troops clashed with guerrillas Tuesday night after the guerrillas were spotted near a hole in the border fence outside the Kfar Ruppin communal farm, which is on the Jordan River about 50 miles northeast of Jerusalem.

Within minutes, settlements in the area were on full alert, flares lit the sky and soldiers opened fire in the direction of the fence break.

Two guerrillas fled into Jordan and the third was shot near the farm’s fish ponds after trying to fire his pistol at the soldiers, a platoon commander at the scene told Israel army radio.

The wounded guerrilla was treated by army medics and taken to an army base. Army radio said the guerrillas apparently planned to attack Kfar Ruppin, which is 330 yards from the border and home to several hundred Israelis.

Jordan today denied knowledge of the infiltration attempt. A spokesman in Amman said the government of King Hussein would ″never allow infiltrators to cross from Jordan into the occupied Arab territories.″

On Dec. 24 Israeli troops captured three Palestinian guerrillas dressed in Israeli army uniforms who crossed from Jordan into Israel, the second infiltration from Jordan in 10 years.

Tuesday night’s was the 13th infiltration into Israel since Nov. 25.

The guerrillas taking part belonged to the Palestine Liberation Front, a PLO faction headed by Mohammed Abbas, who masterminded the 1985 hijacking of the Italian cruiser Achille Lauro.

Update hourly