Curfews Order Palestinians To Homes in Gaza Following Clashes
RAFAH, Occupied Gaza Strip (AP) _ About 250,000 Palestinians were ordered confined to their homes in the occupied Gaza Strip on Sunday following clashes a day earlier that left four Palestinians dead and at least 90 wounded.
Eighteen protesters were wounded in clashes with troops in Gaza City, Arab reports said.
In another development, Labor Party leader Shimon Peres on Sunday denied reports that Israeli officials have spoken with Palestinians about granting autonomy to the Gaza Strip.
The report Saturday from Amman, attributed to PLO officials, said Peres and other Israelis had met a Palestinian official and Saudi businessman last week in Paris about the autonomy idea.
″It has no basis,″ a spokeswoman for Peres, Bahira Bardugo, said in a telephone interview.
In the occupied West Bank, one Arab died Sunday in a clash between Palestinian collaborators and Arab activists. Three Palestinians suspected of being collaborators with Israel fired on stone-throwing Arab activists in the town of Yaabad, Arab and media reports said.
Killed in the shooting was Rabiya Hamarshe, 26, the reports said. The army confirmed that an Arab was killed by a fellow Palestinian in Yaabad.
In the West Bank city of Nablus, Manar Bakir, 19, was killed by an explosive near the military headquarters, Arab reports said. The army command confirmed the incident and said the youth died when an explosive device he was preparing went off.
Curfews were clamped on Nablus and Ya’bad following the violence.
Israel also imposed the curfews in the Gaza Strip to prevent violence after the clashes Saturday with soldiers - the worst in Gaza in more than six months. In Rafah, where Saturday’s violence began, streets covered with stones were deserted except for army patrols and one burning tire. Arab merchants staged a commercial strike throughout the West Bank to protest Saturday’s bloodshed. In Nablus, masked activists marched during the night brandishing pistols, automatic weapons and posters of PLO chief Yasser Arafat.
Military officials attributed the tensions to the 26th anniversary of the founding of the PLO’s mainstream Fatah guerrilla movement on Tuesday.
The military government closed all schools in the West Bank for two weeks beginning Monday to ward off any riots marking the anniversary, Arab reports said.
Military government spokesman Shmuel Ozenboy said that the schools were shut for winter vacation, but Arab reporters said the vacation had been planned for the middle of January.
The Israeli military defended soldiers’ actions in the Gaza Strip on Saturday, saying they opened fire only when their lives were in danger.
The riots began when two masked Arabs were shot dead in Rafah after refusing orders from troops to halt, and another two Palestinians were killed as soldiers dispersed stone and firebomb throwers in the area, Arab and army reports said later.
The army said a woman initially listed as a riot fatality turned out to have had a heart attack. Arab reports said 194 people were wounded while army counts put the number at 90.
The killing in Yaabad on Sunday brought to 323 the number of Palestinians slain by fellow Arabs, most on suspicion of collaborating with Israel.
At least 785 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli troops or civilians in the uprising. Fifty-seven Israelis have also been slain in the violence.
Also Sunday, the body of an Israeli man was found with his throat cut in his apartment in the northern port city of Haifa.
City police commander Yossi Levy told Israel radio he suspected a political motive in the slaying of Yossi Malchin, 60, but that other motives were being checked.
Israel army radio reported later that his adopted Arab son had been detained.