Stabbing, raid leave 5 dead in Israeli-Arab violence

May 25, 1992|By Doug Struck | Doug Struck,Jerusalem Bureau

JERUSALEM -- The Israeli-Arab conflict paid its toll of violence yesterday as an Israeli schoolgirl, a soldier and three Palestinian men were killed in two separate incidents.

The stabbing of the 15-year-old girl on her way to classes unleashed a spasm of retribution in the Tel Aviv suburb of Bat Yam. Israel Radio reported that hundreds of residents roamed the streets waving flags, smashing windows and overturning cars with Arab-area license plates.

A police spokesman said at least two Palestinians were beaten by the mob and another was stabbed and seriously wounded at a nearby highway interchange. Fourteen Israelis were arrested in the disturbances, including two charged with striking a policeman with a pipe.

Members of the National Religious Party met with Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir last night to demand a ban on Palestinians traveling into Israel from the occupied territories. Israel Television reported that participants in the meeting quoted Mr. Shamir as saying the attacker "should have been shot, and nothing would have happened to the person who shot him."

Police arrested more than 100 Palestinians after the stabbing, in addition to a 19-year-old Arab man charged with killing the girl, who was identified as Helena Rapp.

"We detained all the Arab people around to check if they were involved and to protect them," the police spokesman said.

Earlier yesterday, an Israeli border patrolman and three Palestinians were killed during a shootout that occurred in a raid on a house in Sabra in the Israeli-occupied Gaza Strip.

Authorities said army and police units approached the house at 4 a.m. and were met by pistol fire and a hand grenade. The explosion killed the border patrolman, Aaron Silberman, 26, and army units returned fire, killing the three occupants of the house.

An army spokesman said all three were wanted members of the Hamas fundamentalist Islamic movement. They said one of those killed was responsible for the murder of three Israelis in a factory in December 1990.

The army imposed a curfew on the Sabra area after the incident. Residents reportedly threw rocks at the vehicles of United Nations workers and foreign reporters.

The stabbing in Bat Yam was the second murder in two months of a schoolgirl by Palestinian attackers in the Jewish working-class neighborhood. In yesterday's incident, police said the girl was walking to school with a group of friends at 7:30 a.m. when a man stabbed her repeatedly in the back with a knife.

He ran down the street and apparently tried to attack a second child. At least two armed bystanders shot at the man, one firing through the closed window of a moving bus.

He was caught by Nimrod Efrati, a taxi driver who stopped his car and chased the man. He told Israel Radio, "I saw a guy waving a knife. I braked my car and jumped out. Eventually I caught up with him and threw a wooden board at him. He lost his balance and fell. I caught him and held his hand with the knife."

Police identified the Palestinian as Fuad Mohammad Amarin, a resident of the Nuseirat refugee camp in the Gaza Strip. A police spokesman said, "He told us he did it because he didn't have a job." Witnesses said a second Palestinian was involved in the attack, and police have detained a suspect for questioning.

The attack drew members of the extremist Kach movement to Bet Yam, who helped incite youths there, according to reports.

"We don't want Arabs to come inside Israel. We want to kill everybody," a demonstrator shouted. Another said: "Peace with the Arabs? There's no way to make peace with the Arabs."

The attack fuels the emotions over the Arab-Israeli conflict that have been stirred by next month's national elections in Israel. Campaign broadcasts were canceled yesterday because of the stabbing.

Right-wing members of the Knesset yesterday called for travel restrictions on Palestinians. Knesset member Geula Cohen said the work permits given Palestinians "have been turned by them into licenses to murder Jews."

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