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Man Injured by Israeli Army Fire

August 6, 2000

BEIRUT, Lebanon (AP) _ Israeli soldiers fired shots Sunday into a crowd throwing stones at a stretch of border fence, injuring one person, Lebanese security sources said.

A Lebanese man was wounded in the left leg, they said. It was the first act of violence along the Lebanese-Israeli border since 370 U.N. peacekeepers deployed near eight border villages Saturday.

Earlier partial deployments have put U.N. troops in six other locations during the past two weeks. The peacekeepers, who are trying to ensure stability on the frontier, were not deployed at the Fatima Gate area near Kfar Kila town. They do have, however, a position a half-mile north of the stretch of fence.

The Fatima Gate area has become an attraction for visitors from all over Lebanon since Israel’s May 24 withdrawal from southern Lebanon. Visitors come to throw stones at an Israeli observation post 15 yards from the border fence.

U.N. spokesmen could not be reach Sunday for comment on the incident.

In Jerusalem, the Israeli army confirmed a Lebanese man was injured, saying a bullet shot by Israeli soldiers struck the ground and the man was injured by a rock that ricocheted from the impact.

According to the army, Israeli soldiers had fired warning shots into the air and on the ground to disperse a crowd throwing stones, bottles and metal objects, and had not intended to hit anyone.

The Lebanese security sources, speaking on customary condition of anonymity, said Ali Hayek, 23, was taken by ambulance to a hospital in Nabatiyeh, nine miles northwest of Kfar Kila.

Also on Sunday, Olivier Rapowitch, a spokesman for the Israeli army’s northern command, said Lebanese threw stones and other objects at Israeli farmers working fields near the Israeli border town of Metulla. Nobody was injured, he said.

Israel last week warned it would no longer tolerate the stone throwing once U.N. peacekeepers took up their positions along the border.

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