JERUSALEM (Feb. 8)
A Jewish settler burned to death Wednesday when his Peugeot van was firebombed near the Alfe-Menashe settlement in the Samaria district of the West Bank.
The victim, Albert Jerassi, was dead on arrival at Meir Hospital in Kfar Saba.
Israel Defense Force troops were rushed to the area to set up road blocks and search for the perpetrators. They are also bracing for violent reprisals by Jewish settlers against nearby Arab villages, where curfews have been enforced.
Maj. Gen. Amram Mitzna, commander of the central sector, has taken personal charge of his troops in the area.
Jerassi was the third firebomb victim in the Alfe-Menashe vicinity in two years.
Ofra Moses and her son, Tal, died in a similar incident there in April 1987. Edna and Moshe Regev were injured four months later in a gasoline bomb attack.
Meanwhile, four Palestinians died Wednesday, three as a result of clashes with the IDF and one shot during a riot at Megiddo prison.
Unrest began at the military prison near Afula Wednesday morning, when families came to visit inmates incarcerated for security offenses in the West Bank.
As the visitors waited in long lines for entry permits, impatience grew and tempers flared. One visitor raised the outlawed Palestinian flag and women began to chant nationalist slogans.
Eventually, youths stoned military police guards. Authorities promptly canceled visitors’ day. The inmates reacted by storming a fence in the prison compound and the guards opened fire, killing one and wounding 14.
Demonstrations outside the prison spread to nearby Megiddo junction, where the main roads to Haifa, Afula and Hadera converge.
Arabs hurled stones at passing cars and smashed the windshields of parked cars with iron bars. Border police rushed to the scene, ending the riot.
A gasoline bomb was thrown near Herod’s Gate in the Old City of Jerusalem Wednesday. No injuries or damage were reported.