IDF Reports Facing Bomb, Gunshots for First Time During Unrest

The Israel Defense Force disclosed Wednesday the first use of explosives and firearms against soldiers and Jewish civilians in the administered territories since the unrest began last Dec. 9.

A military spokesman said an explosive charge was detonated at a roadside near Gaza Monday, but there were no casualties.

Gunshots were fired at some military vehicles on a road that bypasses the city of Gaza shortly before midnight Monday. The fire was returned and no one was apprehended, the spokesman added.

Meanwhile, an investigation into the death of a Palestinian youth in Khan Yunis in the southern Gaza Strip last Friday indicated he was killed when a bomb he was preparing exploded prematurely. The youth’s family had claimed he was electrocuted.

Virtually the entire West Bank and Gaza Strip was paralyzed by a general strike Wednesday, called for by the Palestine Liberation Organization in advance of the arrival of U.S. Secretary of State George Shultz, who is due in Israel Thursday evening.

Shops and offices were closed, stall owners abandoned their usual places on the streets, schools were shut down and only a few of the thousands of Arabs employed in Israel showed up for work.

The territories were relatively quiet, however there were scattered incidents of tire-burning and rock-throwing at passing vehicles and nails were strewn on the roads in some places.

Three residents of the Nuseirat refugee camp in the Gaza Strip were slightly wounded in skirmishes with security forces Wednesday. There were demonstrations in several other refugee camps during the day.

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