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A 17-year-old was fatally stabbed in the chest yesterday at the high school in the village of Tuba-Zangariya in the north. Police are holding a youth as a suspect in the killing.

As far as is known, there was no bad blood between the boys; a fight apparently erupted over a minor matter and became a brawl.

The intensive care ambulance paramedic called to the scene, Fauzy Jubran, said, "We were told there was a brawl at the school and we shouldn't go there. We waited at the entrance to the village and a regular ambulance brought the injured boy to us. He had a stab wound in the center of his chest. We tried to resuscitate him but he died on the spot."

The boy was taken to Rebecca Sieff Hospital in Safed, where further resuscitation efforts proved to be of no avail.

The boy's alleged assailant fled and hid for several hours, However, he was apprehended and taken to the nearby Rosh Pina police station. Police were posted at the alleged assailant's home for fear the family of the dead teen might attempt to avenge his death. According to Hussein el-Heib, former mayor of Tuba-Zangariya, whose population is Bedouin, "these boys are considered at-risk youth. There are many more like them in the community - boys who have trouble staying in school. Unfortunately, there is no other educational framework, like vocational schools run by the Welfare Ministry."

Education Ministry Director General Shlomit Amichai said she would appoint a team to investigate the boy's death.

Ali Salah, a ninth-grader at the school, had tears in his eyes when he said, "I saw him lying there, all covered with blood. It was horrible. I'm really scared." Seconds later he regained control and said a murder at the school was "a matter of time."

Teachers and students declined to answer questions. However, parents gathered at the school's entrance said that if classes were held as usual, the school would be a battlefield. The parents discussed the matter and decided to strike the school today. "The protest is against everyone, parents and those responsible for what happened," a member of the school's parents' committee, Mohammed Gazi, said.

Villagers had gathered not far from the school, including community leaders who tried to calm things down, and it was suggested that the suspect's family leave the village for a few days.

The dead boy's funeral is to be held today.