Search Begins for Settler Who Allegedly Killed Arab Teen

A Palestinian youth was shot and killed in the West Bank by an Israeli Thursday night, while Israeli soldiers shot dead a 75-year-old Palestinian near the border fence with the Gaza Strip Friday. One more Palestinian was injured in the shooting near the Strip.

The incident in which 15-year-old Aysar Zaban, from a village near Ramallah, was shot dead, occurred when youths pelted vehicles on Route 60 with stones. One driver stopped and fired on the stone throwers. They fled but Zaban was hit in the back.

Three hours later his body was found by family members. The youths did not immediately report the incident.

Israeli and Palestinian security forces carried out a joint investigation of the shooting.

Haaretz has learned that at around 7:30 P.M., two Israelis driving on the road reported to the Binyamin Regional Council's security hotline that a vehicle had stopped because of stone throwers and that three people came out, one armed with an M-16 rifle.

The Israel Defense Forces found stones on the road, but did not see anything unusual and left the area.

The security forces currently do not know the identities of the three Israelis, and are looking for them.

As part of the Israeli-Palestinian investigation, police found many shells from a light weapon at the scene where the youth's body was found. The evidence fit the testimonies of the stone throwers who had reported that a number of shots were fired.

The Palestinian police also recovered the bullet from the youth's body at the hospital and delivered it to the Israel Police for forensic analysis.

Israeli and Palestinian officers are scheduled to meet today to discuss the findings.

The fact that the Palestinians agreed to carry out an autopsy, which led to the recovery of the bullet, is in itself a rare event.

Several hours after the incident, shots were fired at Israeli vehicles; at least one woman suffered minor injuries from broken glass.

The incident occurred at around 6:45 P.M., near where the earlier shooting had taken place.

The driver and a passenger continued heading toward the settlement of Ofra after their vehicle was hit.

The IDF found shells and identified the position from which the shots were fired.

The head of the Civil Administration, Brig. Gen. Yoav Mordechai, called senior Palestinian officers and asked them to help keep the situation calm.

Part of Fatah's Al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades, the Imad Mughniyeh group, claimed responsibility for the attack. The group is believed to be receiving support from Hezbollah.

On Friday, Palestinian sources said that 75-year-old Fuad Abu Matar was shot by Israeli soldiers near the border fence with Gaza. The sources said a 22-year-old was wounded in the shooting.

Medical officials in Gaza said Abu Matar's body was found yesterday and that he had been shot several times. His family had reported him missing for two days, they said.

IDF sources said a man was spotted at around 11 P.M. on Friday night approaching the fence, and troops fired warning shots toward him.

The sources said the man continued moving toward the fence, and more shots were fired, including a mortar round that probably killed him.

The IDF said it was not clear why the elderly man approached the fence. They later discovered that he was unarmed, and there is no information linking him to a militant group.

The IDF has been enforcing a 300-meter no-entry zone near the fence on the Palestinian side. Any Palestinian crossing that zone, armed or not, is considered suspicious, and warning shots are fired toward them. At what is considered a "firing range" on the Palestinian side, the soldiers are ordered to shoot at the person.