Israeli Troops Battle Protesters in Gaza and West Bank

Associated Press

Israeli troops fired tear gas and rubber bullets at rock-throwing Palestinian rioters in the occupied territories Wednesday, and the army clamped curfews on several cities and refugee camps to quell the protests.

An Arab demonstrator who stabbed an Israeli soldier was shot and wounded, and U.N. officials said four Palestinians were hurt in clashes with soldiers.

The violence stymied Israeli efforts to restore calm and defuse international criticism of its handling of the monthlong rioting in the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip.

Defense Minister Yitzhak Rabin said 1,978 Palestinians have been arrested in the last month. Of those, 908 have been released, 300 tried and sentenced, six acquitted and the rest are awaiting trial, he said.

The violence Wednesday was sparked the day before, when an Israeli soldier shot and killed an Arab man in the Gaza Strip.

On Wednesday, soldiers fired tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse protesters in the West Bank city of Qalqiliya. Troops also clashed with stone-throwing demonstrators in nearly a dozen other sites, including Gaza City, Ramallah, Rafah and several refugee camps.

The army clamped curfews on two West Bank refugee camps and on parts of Qalqiliya and Gaza City.

In Tulkarm, an Israeli army officer shot a 21-year-old Palestinian in the shoulder after the man attacked an army vehicle. An Israeli woman soldier was cut on the hand in the attack, the army said.

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