The centre of Hebron was under curfew last night and security forces sealed off all exits to Kiryat Arba for several hours to prevent acts of vengeance after yeshiva student from the Jewish suburb was murdered in the Casbah of the Arab town.
Closed shops in Hebron after curfew imposed by Military Gov.
Following the shooting of a yesheva student in the market area.
GV of Hebron
Roadblcok at the entrance of the town. Cars stopped and searched.
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Background: The centre of Hebron was under curfew last night and security forces sealed off all exits to Kiryat Arba for several hours to prevent acts of vengeance after yeshiva student from the Jewish suburb was murdered in the Casbah of the Arab town.
Security forces combed the area in search of the killer and several suspects were detained for questioning. The curfew was expected to continue for some time although military sources would not be specific. There will be no prayers in the Tomb of the Patriarchs today.
Rabbi Moshe Levinger, one of the leading figures in Kiryat Arba, was quoted as vowing to avenge the killing. Other residents stunned by the news, echoed his remarks. "We will not pass over this silence." one community activist said.
The dead man was a 21-year-old student combining his military service with religious studies at Kiryat Arba's yeshivat hesder, His name was not released for publication last night because his parents, who live abroad, had not yet been informed.
Relations between Kiryat Arba and Hebron have often been tense in the past and in recent months there have been recurrent stone throwing attacks on Israeli vehicles. But is was the first death in the 12-year-old history of the controversial Jewish suburb.
The murder occurred around 2.40 p.m. . about 20 metres inside the entrance to the Hebron Casbah. One eye-witness. Gershon Ellinson of Kiryat Arba, who works in the settlers restaurant in the centre of town, said that he noticed something was a miss"when all the Arabs started running"
Following them, he told The Jerusalem Post later, he saw two yeshiva students lifting a badly wounded man into a police car. "There was blood all over the place,"he said.
Early reports said that the man had been stabbed in the head and neck, but military sources said later that the two nine millimetre cartridges had been found at the scenes of the crime, indicating that the victim might have been shot.
The wounded man was first taken to a Hebron hospital, and then transferred by helicopter to the Hadassah Medical Centre in Jerusalem. He died at 5.10 p.m. without regaining consciousness. An autopsy was carried out last night to determine the exact cause of death.
A women close to the scene said in a radio interview later that an Arab policeman standing nearby had been slow in coming to help. But military sources could not confirm this. they stressed that Arab doctors had treated the injured man until his training to Hadassah.
Fahd Kawasma, mayor of Hebron, last night expressed his "regret and sadness" over the killing. He said he saw no reason for the murder and surmised that the motive might have been "personal" Together with many other Hebronites, he was in the town's mosque for afternoon prayers when the incident happened.
Aluf Moshe Levy, O/C Central Command, and Judea and Samaria commander. Tat-Aluf Binyamin Ben-Eliezer visited Kiryat Arba in the early evening in an attempt to calm the energy mood sweeping the suburb. They met with Rabbi Eliezer Waldman and other leaders.
Kiryat Arba residents have complained bitterly in the past about the lack of security for them in Hebron, where many of them do their shopping and pray in the ancient synagogue. The man who died yesterday was unarmed and wearing civilian clothes.
Tension has been running high between Hebron and Kiryat Arba ever since a group of women form the suburb began squatting in the town last summer and were permitted to stay by government inaction.
The uneasy coexistence between the two has been marred only by stone-throwing and, more recently unrest over plans to expand Kiryat Arba onto a nearby Arba-owned hill a case which local landowners have taken to the High Court of Justice.
Last night, however, with the centre of Hebron under curfew, with Kiryat Arba closed off to prevent acts of retaliation - and a young man lying dead -- the coexistence appeared to have been rudely shattered.
In Kiryat Arba, angry residents claimed the government's leniency in treating Arab disturbance led to yesterday' attack.
This view was backed by National Religious Party MK Rabbi Haim Druckman.
"We can't wash our hands clean and claim we did not spill this blood," Druckman told The Post. Not enough was done to apprehend Arab rioters who stoned Jewish buses, and Arab mayors who incited people in Hebron an Nablus. he said.