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Violent Clashes Reported in Gaza As IDF Clears Soldiers of Shooting

A weekend of intifada violence ended when the Israel Defense Force clamped a curfew on the Sheikh Radwan neighborhood in Gaza on Sunday, while disputing the cause of death of an elderly Arab woman.

At least 20 people were wounded in the clashes. Fatmah Hawajeh, 85, was the only fatality. Relatives said she suffocated from the fumes of a tear gas grenade thrown into her house.

Army sources claimed she died of a heart attack.

A high-ranking IDF general, meanwhile, defended the behavior of an undercover squad under his command that shot and wounded two young Arabs smearing nationalist graffiti on a wall in the West Bank last week.

The shootings, in Dura village near Hebron, attracted international attention when an Israeli couple, Aviva and David Elimelech, charged that the soldiers, who were dressed in civilian clothing, fired without warning.

It was the first time Israeli civilians have disputed the army’s version of such an incident in the administered territories.

But Maj. Gen. Danny Yatom, commander of the central sector, which includes the West Bank, claimed that a “thorough investigation of the incident” showed that the Arabs had been warned before the soldiers opened fire.

According to Gen. Yatom, the Jewish couple, who were spending the day with Arab friends in Dura and witnessed the incident from their terrace, exaggerated.

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