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Last Updated: Saturday, 3 January, 2004, 12:10 GMT
Four killed in West Bank protests
Israeli troops in the Nablus area
Israelis have launched a series of raids on Nablus recently
Israeli forces have shot dead four Palestinians, including a 15-year-old boy, in the West Bank city of Nablus.

Palestinian sources said three were killed by Israeli sniper fire as they broke a week-old curfew, while a fourth was shot dead during the funeral of the others.

The Israeli army said its troops had opened fire in self-defence.

Nablus has been raided often in recent weeks by Israeli forces searching for people suspected of planning attacks.

Day of unrest

On Saturday morning, Amjad al-Masri, 15, died after being shot in the chest by Israeli troops as they fired into a large crowd of protesters.

Later another man was pronounced dead on arrival at Rafidiyeh hospital following further shooting, along with another teenager, who was said by Palestinians to be a passer-by.

Israeli forces said the troops had "felt themselves in danger".

"One of the Palestinians had dropped a large concrete block in the direction of a soldier," an Israeli Army spokesman said.

"Another was seen holding a weapon."

"A third Palestinian threw a firebomb in the direction of Israeli troops," he said.

Witnesses said four other Palestinians were wounded, two of them seriously, when the Israeli army opened fire on the subsequent funeral in which about 2,000 people participated.

A 17-year-old pallbearer was among the wounded, reports said. He was later pronounced dead by hospital officials.

Nablus has been under military curfew for nine days and is the only West Bank city still under formal blockade after Israeli forces withdrew from Jenin on Friday.


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