Two soldiers hurt in Kalandiya clash with demonstrators

A Palestinian gunman opened fire at Israeli security forces during disturbances in the Kalandiya refugee camp Friday afternoon, lightly wounding an IDF officer and a soldier. The attack was one in a spate of violent incidents over the weekend in the charged atmosphere enveloping the Palestinian areas around Jerusalem due to ongoing excavations outside the Temple Mount compound. Military officials said a demonstration in the refugee camp just north of Jerusalem against the work turned violent around 4 p.m. when some 300 Palestinians began to hurl debris at soldiers deployed at the scene in anticipation of possible unrest. The soldiers reacted with stun grenades and tear gas in efforts to disperse the rioters, and at some point during the melee live fire was directed at the troops from individuals within the mob. An officer and a soldier were struck by bullet fragments. The officer was treated on the scene, and continued to direct his troops until the rioters were dispersed. Army medics treated and evacuated the wounded soldier to the Hadassah-University Medical Center on Mount Scopus in Jerusalem, where he was reported in good condition. The IDF said the gunman or gunmen were not identified. Troops were keeping a noticeably higher profile in the settlement blocs to the north and south of the capital in the past two weeks, settlers said. The army had beefed up it presence on the roads and at past sites of friction near the Gush Etzion bloc within the Green line to the south of Jerusalem, and the Beit El and Ofra settlements to the north, residents of those communities said. IDF units in Hebron clashed with Palestinian youths who threw stones at their posts near the Jewish enclave within the city. Military officials said that during one of several sporadic disturbances that erupted on Friday, soldiers identified a young man approaching with a lit Molotov cocktail. Army officials said soldiers fired over the attacker's head before shooting him in his lower extremities. Palestinians carried the man away and his condition was unknown. No IDF soldiers were wounded in Hebron, the army said. The weekly clashes west of Ramallah at Bili'in between border policemen and Palestinians, and left-wing Israelis and foreigners turned particularly violent following the Muslims' Friday noon-time prayer as fiery anit-Israel sermons could be heard being blared from the minarets in the hilltop villages around Jerusalem an throughout the West Bank. According to the IDF, some 100 demonstrators opposed to the security barrier in the area crossed into a close military zone and clashed with border policemen clad in riot gear. Tear gas and batons were used by the security forces during the scuffles, and a border policeman was lightly to moderately wounded by a firebomb and was treated on the scene, a military spokesman said. Witnesses said an Israeli left-wing activist was struck in the head by an unknown object and required emergency room treatment. His name and condition were unavailable. In the most serious of three incidents of attacks on the roads outside Ramallah over the weekend, an Israeli motorist was lightly wounded Friday night when Palestinians hurled two petrol bombs and blocks at his vehicle as he traveled on roads leading to Route 443, an IDF spokesman said. The motorist was treated at the scene and his vehicle was severely damaged. Two other Israeli vehicles were attacked with rocks on the Ramallah bypass road, but failed to cause any damage. Soldiers conducting anti-terror operations in Ramallah, Bethlehem, and Hebron Friday night captured seven Palestinian fugitives, among them four men from Hamas, the army said. Troops came under fire in two separate incidents near Tulkarm, but there were no injuries. In the South, Gaza-based terrorists fired a Kassam rocket into Israeli territory in the latest of several cease-fire violations. The Kassam fell in a community in the Sha'ar Hanegev regional council, but did not cause injuries or damages.