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1989: Six killed in West Bank village raid

At least six Palestinians have been killed in an early morning raid by Israeli soldiers on an Arab village on the West Bank.

Thirty people were also reported to have been injured in clashes in Nahalin, a village of 4,500 inhabitants to the south of Jerusalem.

Villagers said they had been verbally abused and harassed by members of the border police for several days.

Israel has recently started to replace army troops- stationed on the West Bank to quell the Palestinian uprising - with specially trained police units.

They contain a large number of non-Muslim Arabs - known as Druses - and Palestinians complain they are more brutal than the Israelis.

Last night members of the border police carried out a surprise search of Nahalin.

They returned with soldiers early this morning at around 0330 and carried out searches of several homes.

Villagers claimed troops and police opened fire without provocation as they were leaving morning prayers at the mosque.

Inquiry

But the commander of the Israeli forces on the West Bank said troops had come under attack from about 100 stone-throwing youths.

General Amram Mitzna told reporters: "The company was violently attacked by youths from the village, and they responded.

"They fired tear gas and rubber bullets and, when their lives were in danger, live ammunition."

General Mitzna said the police and soldiers had entered the village to arrest people who persistently stoned the cars of Jewish settlers.

The army has ordered an inquiry into events.

The incident at Nahalin is one of the bloodiest so far in the 17 months of the uprising against Israeli rule in the West Bank and Gaza.

The two territories, home to approximately 1.7 million Palestinians, were captured from Jordan and Egypt in the 1967 Middle East war.

In Context
In May 1989 an Israeli army report said troops had violated regulations.

It recommended transfers of key army and border police personnel and disciplinary action or criminal charges against some of them.

In 1996 the Palestinian National Authority took control of Gaza and Jericho on the West Bank under an agreement signed in Washington in 1993.

However, since then violence has continued.

In March 2002 Israeli forces moved into key Palestinian towns in the West Bank to try to halt a series of suicide attacks on its citizens.


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