Young Intifada Activist Killed During Intense Rioting in Gaza

A young intifada activist from Khan Yunis, in the southern end of the Gaza Strip, was killed Wednesday as Israeli security forces battled Palestinians, in the worst rioting to sweep the Gaza Strip in recent weeks.

The violence erupted Tuesday when the Israel Defense Force lifted a blanket curfew intended to prevent disturbances.

The occasion was the second anniversary of the slaying of Abu Jihad, the Palestine Liberation Organization’s second in command who was gunned down at his home in Tunisia, presumably by Israeli commandos.

According to Palestinian sources, 39 Gaza Strip residents, seven of them children, were wounded by live ammunition or rubber bullets Tuesday.

The IDF could not confirm the figure because many of the wounded left the hospital after initial treatment.

Military authorities agreed, however, that there has been a serious escalation of violence in the territory in recent days.

It peaked Wednesday with the fatal wounding of Ghazi Abed Rabbo Abu-Mustapha, 20, described by authorities as one of the leaders of the intifada in the Khan Yunis refugee camp.

He was shot when IDF soldiers opened fire to disperse demonstrators in the camp and died later at a local hospital.

Abu-Mustapha had been wounded in the leg by the IDF six months earlier.

Part of the recent strife in the Gaza Strip is attributable to a sudden spurt of Jewish settlement activity taken while the Likud caretaker government is in charge.

Knesset member Yossi Sarid of the Citizens Rights Movement has accused the settlers and their allies in the government of taking advantage of the situation.

A RUSH TO SET UP SETTLEMENTS

Defense establishment sources confirmed they intend to speed up the process, so that settlements approved by the old government are established before a new government takes office.

Settler activists are rushing, therefore, to set up Dugit in the northern part of the Gaza Strip.

It was tentatively approved as long ago as 1982, but given the green light only since the national unity government was toppled on March 15.

Dugit, which consists for the moment only of tents, will be the 16th settlement in the Gaza Strip since it was captured from Egypt in 1967.

The first settlement, Netzer Hazani, was established in 1977. A total of 5,000 Jews now live in the territory. Nine of their settlements are involved in agriculture. The others are only bedroom communities for Jews who work in Israel.

Dugit, which is planned for a population of 250, will earn its income mainly from fishing and the provision of beach services.

NEXT STORY