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Violence Erupts in Territories, As a General Strike Continues

Violence erupted in the territories Wednesday, as local residents staged a general strike for the second consecutive day.

The strike halted public transportation, making it impossible for many laborers in the territories to report for work in Israel proper.

Two Arabs died in clashes with the army, according to reports by Arab sources. The sources said the violence began early Wednesday, when Israel Defense Force soldiers raided the West Bank village of Beit Rima, near Ramallah.

The Arab sources claimed that some 15 residents were arrested.

The army then moved on to the nearby village of Deir Ghassana, where residents attacked the soldiers with stones, bottles and bricks. The army fired, killing Fathi el-Barghouti, 22. Five others were wounded.

A spokesperson for the IDF said he could not confirm the incident.

Three firebombs were hurled at a border police patrol in the village of Azarya, east of Jerusalem. Security forces searched the area and found two more firebombs on the roof of a local school building.

Violence also flared Wednesday afternoon in the West Bank town of Kalkilya. Youngsters pelted Israeli soldiers and cars with stones. The army responded with rubber bullets. One Arab was reportedly injured.

In the Gaza Strip, violence erupted in the Shabura neighborhood of Rafah, as residents violated the curfew there. The army fired tear gas and rubber bullets, injuring one rioter.

Meanwhile, a 16-year-old resident of Gaza died of his wounds at the Tel Hashomer hospital in Ramat Gan. Eiman Ahmad a-Najab was wounded in a clash Tuesday with IDF troops. Arab sources charged he was severely beaten, but the army spokesman in Gaza could not confirm the death.

Quiet tension prevailed over Nablus, following violent demonstrations Tuesday night.

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