Arab Villagers Protest Death

Arab villagers staged a general strike in Majdal-Krum today to protest the killing of a local Arab by Israeli police yesterday during a violent demonstration against the demolition of an illegally built house in that Upper Galilee township on the Safad-Acre road. About 20 policemen were injured and scores of Arabs were arrested before the demonstrators dispersed.

The Interior Ministry expressed regret over the loss of life but said its get-tough policy against illegal construction will continue. The construction of houses without government permission has reached epidemic proportions in the heavily Arab populated regions of Upper Galilee, Ministry sources said. Demolition orders were issued five years ago but action was delayed by numerous court appeals.

Yesterday a wrecking crew with a demolition warrant issued by a court was sent to Majdal-Krum accompanied by a small police guard. The house in question was razed. But the villagers massed in a protest demonstration which erupted in violence. Passing cars and busses were stoned and the main road was blocked. Police reinforcements rushed to the scene fired into the air. One villager was fatally wounded by a stray bullet, police said.

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