An Israeli soldier was killed and two others wounded when homemade bombs exploded in the West Bank town of Bethlehem, and an Arab was slain during clashes in the Gaza Strip on the Palestinian uprising's third anniversary.
The military clamped a curfew on Bethlehem and surrounding villages after the explosions, an army spokesman said. The army conducted searches in the area to try to find those responsible for the attack.Curfews imposed before the explosions Sunday in an effort to prevent violence during the uprising anniversary confined approximately 1 million Palestinians to their homes. A general strike called to commemorate the Palestinian uprising, known in Arabic as the intifada, shut down the rest of the Gaza Strip, West Bank and East Jerusalem.
The military reinforced its presence along main roads and soldiers were under orders to "act quickly and forcefully" to prevent violence, Army Radio reported. But senior military sources have said their preparations could not necessarily prevent attack by one or two assailants.
Two homemade bombs exploded Sunday evening as an Israeli army patrol passed the entrance to the Civil Administration offices in Bethlehem, the army spokesman said. Two soldiers were slightly wounded but a third who was seriously wounded later died, the spokesman said.
"The intifada is a popular revolution that came to prove to Israel and the world that the Palestinians totally reject all kinds of occupation and one day they will have their state," businessman Awni Neman said.