Israeli soldiers opened fire and wounded three young, Arabs, one critically, when their car was besieged by an angry crowd of demonstrators on the occupied West Bank on Wednesday (17 March).
GV People in street.
GV Fire in street.
GV and SV smoke in street (2 shots)
GV Riot police (5 shots)
GV smoke in street.
SV Riot police with man they arrested
SV and GV man running away in street.
SCU Operating team working on injured child
Initials RH/0005 RH/AMN/JB/0030
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Background: Israeli soldiers opened fire and wounded three young, Arabs, one critically, when their car was besieged by an angry crowd of demonstrators on the occupied West Bank on Wednesday (17 March).
The incident took place at Al-Azariyah - a small town between Jerusalem and Jericho - and brought to a head weeks of violent clashes in the area and seemed sure to inflame tensions further, despite renewed appeals by Israeli leaders for an end to rioting.
An army spokesman said the soldiers fired to escape from a mob after their car was stopped at a road block. Two boys and a girl were injured. An 11-year-old boy was in a critical condition after surgery.
Police and troops drove groups of demonstrators back with tear gas and batons in the Old City of Jerusalem. In Hebron, a large Arab town to the south, young demonstrators stoned soldiers from rooftops and set fire to shops when their owners refused to draw the shutters.
Schools remained closed throughout the West Bank and many scores were shut. The Israeli authorities put a curfew on Hebron and the neighbouring village of Khalhul. Two towns to the north, Ramallah and El-Bireh, have been under curfew for the past two days.
The disturbances started recently after a group of ultra-nationalist Jews held a prayer service on the Temple Mount, enraging Moslems. Clashes between students and troops have since intensified in towns throughout the West Bank which was captured from Jordan in the 1967 war.
SYNOPSIS: On the occupied West Bank three young Arabs were wounded after Israeli troops opened fire on Wednesday. The Arabs were among a crowd attacking a car carrying the soldiers through Al-Azariyah - a small town between Jerusalem and Jericho.
The crowd was later joined by other angry demonstrators who set fire to vehicles and shops and stoned Israeli police and troops. The disturbances quickly spread to other West Bank towns including the Old City of Jerusalem. Large numbers of troops use tear gas to disperse the demonstrators. The troubles started three weeks ago when a Jewish-Moslem religious dispute flared into open violence between the Arab population and Israeli security forces.
Since then rioting has spread throughout the occupied region in reaction against Israeli police behaviour. Curfews have been imposed on many West Bank towns and Israeli authorities are putting pressure on local Arab leaders to stop the protests.
Meanwhile, the life of one of the three wounded Al-Azariyah demonstrators, an 11-year-old boy, hangs in the balance in a Jerusalem hospital. He was on his way to school but instead joined in the attack against the Israeli soldiers.