Israeli troops today shot and wounded five Palestinian university students as the death of a young woman wounded last week set off further violence in the increasingly tense Israeli-occupied West Bank.
The new shootings illustrated Israel's get-tough policy in dealing with the occupied territories, which have grown restive because of the government's controversial policy of establishing Jewish settlements throughout the West Bank.
Military occupation authorities and spokesmen for Bir Zeit University agreed only on the number of wounded in the shooting at the West Bank's most politically radical campus, which is located about 15 miles north of here.
Meanwhile, in the Tel Aviv suburb of Pardis Katz, an explosion wounded three Israelis in a grocery store, including a pregnant woman who reportedly received serious head injuries.
Israeli officials warned the public to expect more such incidents.
Bir Zeit University spokesman Mahdi Abdul Hadi said the shooting was the "most serious" in the school's turbulent history. He said that while the campus had been closed for months in the past and invaded by Israeli troops, never before had Bir Zeit students been wounded by gunfire on the university premises.
Spokesman at a hospital in Ramallah, about six miles south of Bir Zeit, said two male and two female students were treated for minor wounds and released. But 22-year-old Mohammed Atta Aquil was hospitalized with wounds in his chest and shattered bones in his right arm.
Touching off the violence was the death this morning of Taghrid Butmma from gunshot wounds received last Thursday when the 19-year-old student was on her way to classes at Bethlehem University.
Israeli authorities said then that she had been shot accidentally when a jeep-mounted .30-caliber machine gun discharged.
At Bir Zeit today, Israeli occupation authorities insisted that the troops opened fire by shooting first into the air, then into the ground when students demonstrating outside the campus refused to stop throwing stones as the Israelis sought to remove roadblocks.
The university spokesman said 10 jeeploads of troops and border police took up positions on nearby rooftops and deliberately shot at students singing Palestinian nationalist songs and demonstrating inside the campus against what they denounced as the deliberate murder of their Bethlehem University comrade.
Journalists were not immediately able to verify the widely differing accounts because occupation authorities refused to allow them access to Bir Zeit until well after the incident was over.
Early this morning the occupation forces allowed everyone except reporters to enter Ramallah, a largely Christian town 10 miles north of Jerusalem, to cover the departure to Jordan and the United States for medical treatment of Mayor Karim Khalaf.
Khalaf lost a foot and Nablus Mayor Bassam Shaka lost both legs when car bombs exploded on June 2.
In the past, the occupation authorities have closed off West Bank areas and allowed only residents to enter. But today was the first time that they discriminated solely against the press.
The old policy was also in force this afternoon at Battir, a small town southwest of Bethlehem, when Butmma was buried there.
Occupation officials banned Bethlehem Mayor Elias Freij from attending the burial ceremony as well as busloads of students and faculty from Bethlehem University.
CBS and NBC television crews were detained and their video tapes confiscated by Israeli occupation authorities who were angered when the newsmen managed to enter Battir despite roadblocks on major approaches. Later the networks said military censors were viewing the funeral footage although normally censorship concerns purely military matters.
Further confusion was caused by contradictory announcements that the Israelis had ordered all West Bank universities closed until Sunday. But the military occupation spokesman late this evening said no such order had been issued and that classes at Bir Zeit and elsewhere would resume Tuesday.
The military authorities said they had been unaware of any trouble at Bir Zeit until a carload of Israelis on their way to their West Bank settlement was stoned at a roadblock in the town, but relatively far from the university.
The tough new occupation policy became clear the day of the two bombings in Nablus and Ramallah when Israeli troops shot and wounded three Ramallah youths in the legs for demonstrating against the attempts to kill the mayors.
Previously, occupation officials had sought to avoid shooting Palestinian demonstrators, although they freely employed other punishments ranging from detention and beatings to destroying or walling up suspected culprits' homes.
Three such walled-up homes in Nablus, however, were ordered returned to their tenants over the weekend after nearly a month, during which about 30 members of three families camped outside their dwellings without power or water.