- 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
- "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.