Soldiers opened fire on stone-throwing Palestinians in the occupied territories Saturday, wounding at least 18 people during a general strike called to commemorate the 1956 massacre of Israeli Arabs by army patrols.
Seven of the Palestinians were wounded when violence flared in the West Bank village of Rujeib, 30 miles north of Jerusalem, Palestinian sources and hospital officials said. The army confirmed six wounded.Soldiers confronted youngsters who tried to block the main road of the village with burning tires, the army said. Some of the youngsters threw stones at the soldiers. The army ferried reinforcements to Rujeib in helicopters and put a curfew on the village, Palestinians said.
Soldiers shot and wounded at least 11 other people during widespread disturbances in the occupied Gaza Strip, Palestinian sources said. The army confirmed 10 wounded in Gaza.
Clashes and stone-throwing incidents were reported in nine towns and U.N.-run refugee camps in the occupied West Bank, Palestinian sources said.
In the Jabal Mukaber neighborhood of Arab East Jerusalem, police fired tear gas to disperse demonstrators who blocked the streets with stones, police said.
The violence came during a strike called by the underground leadership of the 10-month-old Palestinian uprising. The strike shut down commerce in Arab East Jerusalem and the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip.
The strike was to commemorate the 32nd anniversary of a massacre at the Israeli Arab village of Kafr Kassem. On the eve of its Sinai Campaign on Oct. 29, 1956, Israel clamped a curfew on Arab villages along the border in the then Jordanian-governed West Bank. Arab workers were returning from their fields after the curfew began when they encountered Israeli army patrols. At least 43 Arabs were killed by the soldiers.