Angry Palestinians today lynched an Arab suspected of collaborating with the Israelis, stringing him up on a utility pole when, as a mob firebombed his home, he went on a shooting rampage that killed a 4-year-old boy and wounded 13 other people, security sources said.
Israel radio called the incident in a West Bank village "a serious escalation" of the unrest in the occupied territories and linked it to the Palestine Liberation Organization's calls to deal with collaborators.
Israel radio and police sources said the violence began when hundreds of residents marched to the home of Mohammed Ayad in Qabatiya near Jenin, 60 miles north of Jerusalem. The Arab-owned Palestine Press Service said Ayad is "recognized as an Israeli spy."
The crowd threw firebombs at his house, setting it afire, the radio report said.
Police sources said Ayad opened fire on the crowd with an Israeli-licensed Uzi machine gun, killing the boy and wounding the others.
Body Left to Hang
Israeli security sources said only a handful of Palestinians who cooperate with the authorities are licensed to carry automatic weapons for their own protection.
The crowd then dragged the man away and hanged him, the radio report said. Ayad's severely burned body was left to hang from the pylon for several hours.
According to the United Nations, 63 Arabs have been killed, most by soldiers, since the wave of unrest began Dec. 8 in the occupied territories.
A general strike gripped the West Bank and Gaza Strip today as businesses shut down and Arab workers stayed home in response to a call for stepped-up protests before Secretary of State George P. Shultz arrives.
Also today, the army reported what it said may be the first armed attack against the military in the past 2 1/2 months of unrest in the territories seized by Israel in the 1967 Six-Day War.
Bomb Blast on Road
An army spokesman, speaking on condition of anonymity, said that a bomb exploded on a road near Gaza as a vehicle was passing Tuesday night and that shots were fired. There were no injuries.
Elsewhere in the occupied territories, Israeli troops shot and wounded four Palestinians during a violent demonstration in the Nusseirat refugee camp in the occupied Gaza Strip, local residents said. The Israeli army said it is checking the report.
Extra-tight security arrangements went into effect today at Ben-Gurion Airport in advance of Shultz's arrival Thursday. Airport police said riot police units were called in and will stay on duty through Tuesday as Shultz conducts his shuttle mission in the Middle East.
Shultz is coming to Israel to launch a new peace initiative that he hopes will put an end to the violence of past weeks, bring the Arabs and Israelis to the negotiating table and eventually achieve an overall solution to the Mideast conflict.
The secretary of state has acknowledged he has only a slim chance of accomplishing that goal during his visit.