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Territories Ablaze with Rioting Following PLO Assassinations

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The West Bank and Gaza Strip were ablaze with rioting Tuesday which left three Palestinian teen-agers dead in clashes with Israeli troops.

Curfews clamped over most of the territories remained in effect Wednesday.

The disturbances, likened by witnesses to the earliest, wildest days of the intifada, were triggered by the assassination Monday in Tunis of two top leaders of the Palestine Liberation Organization and an aide.

Israel Defense Force units, anticipating relative quiet in the territories because of concern over the Persian Gulf crisis, were confronted by rock-throwing mobs and barricades of burning tires.

As loudspeakers on mosques broadcast prayers of mourning for the slain PLO men, residents poured into the streets waving Palestinian flags and black mourning banners.

IDF patrols were stoned by enraged demonstrators. Soldiers fatally shot Abdul Abeidi, 18, in Yamoun village near Nablus in the West Bank.

Mansur Sheikh, 17, was killed by soldiers in Gaza. A 16-year-old boy, not immediately identified, died Wednesday of wounds inflicted by a rubber bullet Tuesday.

The Israeli authorities had imposed some pre-emptive curfews in the territories to ensure quiet after the murders in Tunis. But apparently they did not gauge the depth of feelings aroused.

The three gunned down in Tunis were Salah Khalaf, known as Abu Iyad, the PLO’s No. 2 man after Yasir Arafat; Hail Abdul Hamid, popularly known as Abu Hol, who was chief of security; and Fakhri al-Omari, chief aide to Khalaf.

Their killer, identified as Hamid’s bodyguard, Hamza Abu Zeid, was arrested. Sources in Tunis said the murders were the work of the Abu Nidal terrorist gang, which has long been at odds with the PLO.

But Palestinians in the territories are convinced Israel was behind the triple slaying.

Traditional mourning huts were erected near the homes of the Khalaf and Omari families, who live in the Rimal and Sabra neighborhoods of Gaza. Hundreds of residents came to offer condolences. The IDF declared the Gaza Strip a closed military zone and barred the news media.

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