Seven Foreign Demonstrators
Shot And Wounded By Israelis


BETHLEHEM, West Bank (AFP) - Israeli troops opened fire Monday during a demonstration in support of the Palestinians near here, wounding seven foreigners and a Palestinian cameraman, organizers said.
The group Solidarity International said a 26-year-old Australian woman was hit in the stomach with shrapnel during the incident in the town of Beit Jala and was rushed into surgery. A Frenchman, 54, was shot in the head.
The other foreigners wounded were two Britons, two Americans and a Japanese, the group said. The one Palestinian wounded was a cameraman for Associated Press Television (APTV).
An earlier toll supplied by hospital sources listed five foreigners and two Palestinians wounded.
Israeli officials had no immediate comment and said they were investigating the incident.
Jerome Lallemand, an activist for the group International Civic Campaign for the Protection of the Palestinian People who witnessed the incident, said about 60 people were demonstrating in support of the Palestinians.
"An Israeli tank blocked their way and Israeli soldiers opened fire in their direction," Lallemand told AFP. He said the wounded were taken to the hospital in Beit Jala.
An Israeli army spokesman said they were investigating the incident but expressed little regret.
"We know for sure that it was an act of provocation carried out on purpose by members of groups supporting terrorists, supporting suicide bombers, killing our women and children," said Lieutenant Colonel Olivier Rafowicz.
"These people decided on purpose to provoke our forces where we are combating terrorism. They are deliberately trying to provoke us," he told AFP.

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