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Gaza Tense, but Quiet As Schools Reopen After Several Days of Unrest

Gaza was tense but relatively calm today as schools reopened. An organized street gang believed responsible for the unrest of the past few days engaged in some desultory stoning but was unable to incite youngsters to a repetition of the general disorder that shook the town over the weekend. The gang, known as “Shabab,” was dispersed by police. Ten local youngsters were brought to court on charges of inciting to riot, organizing illegal demonstrations and stoning. Military and civilian authorities meanwhile were investigating Sunday’s shooting incident on the main Gaza Strip road north of town in which five Arab high school girls were injured, none seriously. The incident occurred when an Israeli civilian driver panicked and shot his revolver into a crowd of several hundred high school girls who had set up a road block and were stoning his stalled vehicle. The driver fired his revolver in a wide circle and aimed at the ground. But five girls were hit in the legs or lower bodies and had to be hospitalized. Several other girls who participated in the stoning were arrested and brought to court today.

The Gaza trouble began last Thursday with a march by Arab women to protest a curfew on the town’s eastern suburb and the arrest of a number of residents for questioning in a mining incident that killed one Israeli and injured five. The women dispersed peacefully and the curfew was later lifted. But the tension engendered by the incident sparked a series of demonstrations and stonings, mainly by school-age youngsters. At one point Saturday, two Army half-tracks were called in and soldiers fired several volleys into the air before a mob dispersed in front of the military government headquarters. Traffic was disrupted on the main Gaza road by stone barricades erected by youngsters. The barricades were removed by troops, aided in some cases by local residents.

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