HEBRON, FEB. 17 -- Israeli soldiers fired on a crowd trying to stop them from making arrests during a predawn raid in an Arab village in the Israeli-occupied West Bank today, killing one Palestinian and wounding four, witnesses and the Army reported.
Neighbors identified the dead man in Shuyukh village, 20 miles south of Jerusalem, as Ismail Hussein Mohammed Halaiga, 21, a university student. The Army confirmed the death.
An Army officer at the village said the soldiers aimed at legs only, but doctors said the victim was shot through the heart.
According to United Nations figures, 55 Palestinians have been killed since riots began in the occupied territories Dec. 9, nearly all of them shot by Israeli soldiers.
One of the wounded, 16-year-old Khaled Abu Rumei, was in a Hebron hospital with a bullet wound in his thigh. Rumei's mother said soldiers broke into her house about 5 a.m. while the family was sleeping and dragged another of her sons out into the cold rain. "I tried to protect him, and they beat me with clubs," she said at the hospital. "Later they started shooting." The mother said the scene was much the same at other houses.
An Army spokesman in Jerusalem said soldiers entered the village after some Arabs from nearby Sair slipped out during curfew, went to Shuyukh and began spreading rumors of beatings that incited villagers to riot.
An Israeli officer at the village, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the Army went in to arrest people suspected of fomenting riots. He said two officers opened fire when more than 100 residents began throwing stones and bottles at an Army patrol.
At the Shufat refugee camp on Jerusalem's northwestern outskirts, a young Arab was shot in the back during riots that began about 11 a.m., doctors said. Reporters were barred from the area.
A doctor at the U.N. clinic in the camp, who asked not to be identified, said it appeared soldiers were using a new kind of bullet that burned clothing and penetrated about two inches into the wounded man's back.