TEL AVIV (Jan. 31)
A curfew was clamped down on Hebron this afternoon following the fatal shooting of a 20-year-old yeshiva student from nearby Kiryat Arba. The victim, whose name was withheld pending notification of next of kin, died while undergoing surgery at Hadasah Hospital in Jerusalem for a gunshot wound in the head.
Israeli troops ranged through the Arab town on the West Bank searching for the perpetrators. They also condoned off Kiryat Arba, a Gush Emunim stronghold, to prevent possible revenge attacks on the Arab population of Hebron. The incident was the first in which firearms were used against anyone from Kiryat Arba although there have been frequent clashes between the Jewish militants and local Arabs.
The victim was described as a student at Yeshivat Hesed, a school whose student body engages in military activities such as patrols and guard duty. Israeli authorities said he appeared to have been unarmed when attacked, although he might have been carrying a weapon which was stolen by his assailants.
Gen. Moshe Levi, commander of the central region, and Gen. Benjamin Ben Eliezar, commander of the West Bank, met this evening at Military Government headquarters in Hebron to discuss future action. Meanwhile, soldiers combed the streets. Checkpoints were set up at the entrances to the town and all men and vehicles were searched. The Kiryat Arba residents were furious and blamed the Military Government for not reacting forcefully enough to earlier incidents that involved stone-throwing by Hebron Arabs.
The shooting occurred in mid-afternoon when the Hebron market place was crowded with shoppers, including a number of Jewish women from Kiryat Arba. As soon as the shots rang out, Arab shopkeepers shut down and the market was deserted within minutes, except for the Jewish women shoppers. They found the student covered with blood in an alley but were unable to get assistance from local policemen. A passing Israeli military vehicle picked up the youth and took him to a local hospital from where he was flown by helicopter to Hadassah Hospital in Jerusalem.