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Four Dead in Gaza; Palestinian Kills Israeli Girl Near Tel Aviv

May 24, 1992

BAT YAM, Israel (AP) _ Five people died in Arab-Israeli violence Sunday, including a Jewish schoolgirl knifed as she waited for a bus outside Tel Aviv.

An Israeli border policman and three Palestinians were killed in a pre-dawn firefight in the occupied Gaza Strip, the army said. About four hours later an Arab from Gaza killed 15-year-old Helena Rapp on a seaside boulevard. There was no immediate indication the incidents were connected.

The army closed Israel to Arab residents of the Gaza Strip for three days starting Monday because of the stabbing. The closing would bar up to 30,000 Arabs from working inside Israel, an army spokesman said.

Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir said Rapp’s killer should have been ″shot on sight,″ Israel television reported.

The killing on Bat Yam’s palm-lined seaside brought mobs of outraged Israelis onto the streets smashing cars with Arab license plates and shouting ″Vengeance 3/8″

Children watching from the windows of a primary school chanted ″Death to the Arabs.″ Police tried to protect Arab laborers, the mob’s primary target.

At least 14 Jews - including five from the extremist anti-Arab Kach movement - were arrested for the attacks.

An Arab from the occupied West bank was knifed in the neighboring town of Rishon Lezion and hospitalized, and another came to the hospital saying he was injured by stones thrown at his car, police said.

In Gaza City earlier, about 40 miles south of Bat Yam, fundamentalist Muslims shot at troops and threw a grenade, killing a soldier, the military said. The Israelis fired back, killing three Arabs, it said.

It was one of the bloodiest clashes between Israelis and Palestinians in the occupied territories in months.

Arab reports said 34 Palestinians were injured in clashes throughout the Gaza Strip following the shoot-out. Army reports said only eight Arabs were injured.

Army and Arab reports said one of the dead Arabs was Marwan al-Zayegh, 19, suspected of fatally stabbing three Israelis in the Jaffa section of Tel Aviv in December 1990.

Arab reports identified al-Zayegh and the other two dead Arabs, Yaser Hamad Lelhasinat and Muhammad Hasan Kamdil, as members of the armed wing of the fundamentalist Islamic group, Hamas.

Israeli troops and civilians have killed 930 Palestinians since the December 1987 outbreak of the intefadeh, the uprising against Israeli occupation.

Knife attacks, many by Gaza Arabs, have killed 25 Israelis and tourists in the past 19 months.

Police said the latest stabbing suspect, a 19-year-old Palestinian from the Nusseirat refugee camp, was being questioned. Arab and army reports identified him as Fuad Abdul Atti Amran. Arab reports said he also was a member of Hamas.

Israel radio said he told police he acted out of frustration at failing to obtain work.

Israel radio later reported that police said they released an Arab arrested with Amran, but that they had arrested two others in connection with the stabbing.

A motorist, David Latori, told Army radio he saw an Arab stabbing an Israeli girl ″repeatedly and with great strength. She fell down and he continued stabbing her angrily, again and again.″

Police Officer Moshe Mizrachi said an air force major and soldier fired shots and the assailant was caught by civilians.

″We kicked him and punched him,″ said Latori. ″His face and nose were covered in blood but he didn’t let go of the knife.″

The dead girl’s father, Zeev Rapp, berated a policeman for authorities’ failure to prevent such attacks.

″I sent my daughter to school this morning. What did I get back? A cold corpse. Who will be held accountable? ... Will she be just another police file?″

Update hourly