Palestinian Activists Kill Wrong Man, Strike in East Jerusalem
JERUSALEM (AP) _ Masked Palestinians Thursday axed a fellow Arab to death as an alleged collaborator, then discovered they killed the wrong man and declared him a ″martyr″ of their uprising, Arab reporters said.
Shops and businesses in Arab east Jerusalem closed to protest the deaths of two brothers who were shot and killed by soldiers Wednesday night for throwing stones at Israeli cars.
In the occupied Gaza Strip, 12 Palestinians were shot and wounded by Israeli soldiers in stone-throwing clashes, hospital officials said.
The suspected collaborator was killed in Beit Iba, a village of about 2,000 people near Nablus in the occupied West Bank.
Witnesses said seven Palestinians wearing mourning dress and checkered Arab scarves over their faces later marched through the village and announced on loudspeakers they had killed the wrong man.
Arab reporters said the attackers also warned that they were still seeking the collaborator. The slain man was identified as Mamoun Ali Al-Masri, 18.
The army said it was checking the reports.
It confirmed the death Thursday of a suspected collaborator who was injured three days earlier in a firebomb attack. Hospital officials identified him as Ribhi Ibrahim Bader, 33, of the West Bank village of Beit Liqya.
The deaths raised to at least 153 the number of Palestinians killed by fellow Arabs in the uprising against Israeli rule of the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Most were suspected of collaboration or of drug dealing or prostitution.
Israeli soldiers and civilians have killed 617 Palestinians since the start of the revolt, and 42 Israelis have died in the violence.
The deaths of the brothers Wednesday night set off a strike in Arab east Jerusalem that merchants said would last for at least two days.
Samir Hamouri, 20, and Nidal Hamouri, 19, were buried Thursday at a family service in a Jerusalem cemetery.
Another Hamouri brother, Khaled, said Samir had been hit three times in the chest and that Nidal was struck ″by even more bullets.″
The army said the brothers were among a group of masked youths who climbed a hill on the outskirts of Jerusalem and threw rocks at passing Israeli cars.
A patrol ″ordered them to stop and fired in the air,″ the army spokesman’s office said. ″When they didn’t stop they shot in their direction.″
Several youths escaped, the army said.
More than a dozen Palestinians have been fatally shot by Israeli soldiers since mid-September, when the army changed orders to allow troops to fire on masked Arabs who flee, even if they are not armed.
An Israeli court in Lod on Thursday sentenced a Palestinian man to 17 years in jail for commanding a squad that threw three firebombs. He was identified as Hani Aouni Jaber, 30, of Beit Hanina near Jerusalem.
One of the bombs was tossed at a car and a woman inside was seriously burned.