West Bank Demonstrations Mark Sabra and Chatilla Massacre
HEBRON, Occupied West Bank (AP) _ Israeli soldiers today fought stone-throwing Palestinian students who barricaded themselves inside a college building on the third straight day of violence in the occupied West Bank.
The clash followed a protest at the Hebron Islamic College marking the fifth anniversary of massacres at the Sabra and Chatilla Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon.
Palestinians also demonstrated in the West Bank towns of Ramallah and El Bireh and in the occupied Gaza Strip. The protesters erected stone barriers, burned tires and closed shops, news reports said.
In Hebron, students raised the outlawed red, green, black and yellow Palestinian flag. About 150 soldiers rushed to the college, fired shots and hurled tear gas cannisters into the university’s main yard to disperse the crowd, said university spokesman Mukhlis Hammouri.
He said the only person injured in the clash was a soldier who was hit in the hand with a rock. ″Some students fainted from the gas but weren’t allowed to be taken to the hospital,″ he said.
Students threw stones and cinderblocks at the soldiers and about 350 barricaded themselves inside the main school building.
Several youths left the building and returned minutes later with food for the students. The Israeli soldiers then left the area, but about 80 soldiers returned after an hour and surrounded the university.
University President Othman Takruri said the students would remain inside the building until nightfall because they feared the soldiers would take photographs of them.
Earlier, demonstrators in the West Bank cities of Ramallah and El Bireh fought with Israeli soldiers armed with riot clubs, tear gas canisters and automatic rifles, the Arab-owned Palestine Press Service reported. The news service monitors events in the occupied territories.
In Gaza City, capital of the Gaza Strip, elementary and high school students marched through the streets, waving the outlawed Palestinian flag and pictures of Palestine Liberation Organization leader Yasser Arafat, the press service said. Dozens were arrested, it said.
Shops were closed throughout Gaza and the West Bank cities of Nablus, Ramallah and El Bireh, but troops ordered storekeepers to reopen, it said.
The protests were staged to mark the anniversary of the 1982 massacre of hundreds of Palestinians in the Sabra and Chatilla refugee camps near Beirut during a rampage lasting from Sept. 15 to Sept 18.
Israeli-allied militiamen carried out the massacres after Israeli troops entered Beirut during their invasion to rout Palestinian guerrillas from the country.
The West Bank and Gaza Strip were captured by Israel in the 1967 Middle East War. The territories are home to 1.4 million Palestinians and about 70,000 Jewish settlers.