Pipe Bomb in Bethlehem Kills Israeli Soldier

An Israel soldier was fatally injured and two others we wounded when a pipe bomb exploded Sunday evening on the road outside civil administration headquarters in the West Bank town of Bethlehem.

The dead soldier was identified as Pvt. Guy Friedman, 19, of Haifa. He died at Hadassah Hebrew University Medical Center in Jerusalem while undergoing surgery for shrapnel wounds in the head and was buried Monday in Haifa. His two companions were treated for minor wounds.

All were recruits doing their compulsory military service and had been sent to the West Bank on Sunday as reinforcements on the third anniversary of the start of the intifada.

More than a million Palestinians in the territories were under curfew Sunday to prevent disorders.

Bethlehem, not considered a trouble spot, was one of the few West Bank towns where no curfew was in force. But it was put under curfew immediately after the bombing, which was denounced by its Arab mayor, Elias Freij.

According to accounts of the incident, eight Israel Defense Force paratroopers were returning to their base from patrol duty.

As they walked along the Hebron-Jerusalem highway where it passes through Bethlehem, an explosive charge detonated nearby without causing injuries.

But some 250 feet further down the road and about two minutes later, a second bomb exploded, causing the casualties.

The bombs consisted of 2-inch pipes packed with explosives attached to timers.

Military sources called the attack a “show-case operation,” intended to call attention to the start of the fourth year of the intifada.

An IDF spokesman said that nine soldiers have been killed in intifada-related incidents since the Palestinian uprising began on Dec. 9, 1987. Six of the fatalities were in the West Bank and three in the Gaza Strip.

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