A 14-year-old Palestinian girl was killed and her brothers wounded when they tried to rescue her, as Hebron settlers and supporters attending the funeral of Elazar Leibovitz, an Avraham Avinu resident, rampaged through the Arab town, shooting at Palestinian buildings.
During the funeral procession for Leibovitz, who was born in the Jewish enclave in the town, calls for revenge turned into rock-throwing at Palestinians in the neighborhoods between the Tomb of the Patriarchs and the Jewish cemetery in the town.
According to settlers, they were only protecting themselves against rock-throwing by Palestinians, who were placed under curfew by the authorities before the funeral to prevent friction. Eyewitnesses, including foreign press photographers on the scene, reported that the incitement during the funeral march had quickly turned into rock-throwing and a rampage through the open market, where settlers overturned stalls and burned a house. In the chaos, extensive shooting took place, with Israel Defense Forces troops, deployed in large numbers, firing into the air and settlers shooting at buildings. The IDF said no Palestinians had been shooting.
There was extensive shooting at buildings and, according to Palestinian sources, the girl, Nizin Jamjoum, 14, was standing on the balcony of her home when she was fatally shot in the head. Her brother, Marwan, 26, was injured in the incident. At least six more Palestinians had also been injured, doctors at the city's Alia Hospital said.
The injured included Ahmed Natcha, 8, who was stabbed when a group of settlers broke into his home and smashed furniture, said the boy's father, Hussain Natcha. The boy was in stable condition, the father said.
The police reported that 15 officers had been injured in clashes with the settlers, who numbered around 4,000. The Jewish Community Council in Hebron expressed regret over any injury to police. MK Michael Kleiner of Herut said that "if the government doesn't achieve a quick military victory, more and more frustrated Jews will take matters into their own hands." He called for bombing Palestinian cities, which he called "terrorist refuges."
"It's better to suffer international condemnation and know we did everything possible to save Jewish lives, than to be praised by the world and bury our dead," Kleiner said.
Leibowitz, 21, was killed on Friday in the same ambush that killed three members of the Dikstein family from Psagot who were on their way to visit friends. A few months ago, Leibowitz had prepared a will that included instructions for his funeral, who should eulogize him and how he was to be buried. As one of the soldiers in his infantry unit, which attended the funeral yesterday said, "He had strong political opinions."
Police Inspector General Shlomo Aharonishky, who last night ordered more policemen into Hebron, also ordered an inquiry into why the extensive deployment in readiness for the funeral had not prevented the rioting. The IDF is also investigating.
In other developments yesterday, the IDF blew up a suspicious car near Burkin, but the car turned out not to be carrying a bomb. Palestinian sources said the car had been found near a house where the army had arrested three wanted men, including a senior Islamic Jihad commander and two of his aides, after the army had surrounded the building and had then blown up parts of it.
Elsewhere, a young Palestinian woman was arrested at the Salem Junction and led troops to a bomb she had planned to carry into Israel for a suicide bombing.
In Gaza, a mortar was fired at an IDF position near Rafah.
Want to enjoy 'Zen' reading - with no ads and just the article? Subscribe todaySubscribe now