Strike, rage in Hebron after killings

A general strike and day of rage in the southern West Bank district of Hebron is held Wednesday following yesterday’s killing of five Palestinians and wounding of dozens in clashes with Israeli forces in the area.

Four Palestinians were killed in the Hebron area. 24-year old Odai Masalma was shot in the head at close range by Israeli sodliers near his home in the village of Beit Awwa. Mamza Amla, age 25 from the village of Beit Ula, was shot dead by soldiers at the Kfar Etzion junction south of Bethlehem. Israeli media reports that both Masalma and Amla attempted to attack Israeli soldiers.

Settlers from the Hebron-area settlements primarily Kiryat Arba, conducted a march Tuesday night under military protection. The settlers marched through Hebron, primarily in Palestinian areas. The Palestinian press reports that when the settlers reached the occupied al Rajabi building, where a military checkpoint is located and on the roof of which soldiers are stationed, two Palestinians attempted to flee upon seeing the large group of armed settlers. The soldiers fired at the fleeing Palestinians with live fire, immediately closing the area and demanding that all area Palestinian residents remain in their homes.

Israeli authorities then announced the killing of two Palestinian children, who they claimed attempted to attack the soldiers and settlers : Bashar Nidal Ja’bari, age 15, and Husam Ismael Ja’bari, age 17. Soldiers prevented an ambulance of the Palestinian Red Crescent from reaching the area.

Clashes subsequently broke out in downtown Hebron, home to 50,000 Palestinians and occupied by some 500 settlers. Armed settlers threw stones at homes in the areas of Al Aras, Wadi al Husain, Wal al Nasara and al Kassarat, as well as the Ja’bari family area. Clashes continued for over three hours in this area, and nine Palestinians were wounded by live and rubber-coated steel bullets. Clashes later took place in the Bab el Zawiya area.

In the Gaza Strip 27-year-old Ahmed al Serhi was killed when Israeli soldiers opened fire on dozens of Palestinian protesters on the northern border of the coastal enclave. 14 Palestinians were also wounded in clashes in this area.

Clashes further erupted in numerous areas of the West Bank. In the northern entrance of Bethlehem four Palestinians were wounded by live fire while in the nearby village of Dar Salah, Israeli special units arrested three children from the local school : Wael Adel Radayda, 14, Majd Salah, 16 and Murad Imayyah, age 15. In the Ramallah area of Bil’in two Palestinians were wounded ; one is in critical condition after being shot in the head. In the northern entrance to Ramallah 11 Palestinians were wounded by live fire and rubber-coated steel bullets, while additional Palestinians were wounded in the Hebron areas of Beit Ummar, Beit Ayun and in Hebron itself.

For the fourth day in a row, Israeli soldiers invaded the Tulkarem area Khadoori Agricultural College, where classes were cancelled.

Yesterday’s clashes followed calls by the Palestinian national and Islamic parties for Tuesday to be a day of rage against the occupation and for clashes to take place in contact areas with Israeli soldiers.