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Pig insult sparks West Bank violence

disputed drawing

Israeli soldiers, Palestinians injured

July 1, 1997
Web posted at: 11:50 a.m. EDT (1550 GMT)

HEBRON, West Bank (CNN) -- A pipe bomb thrown from a rooftop exploded in the midst of Israeli troops Tuesday, injuring two soldiers in a day of Israeli-Palestinian clashes.

Witnesses said Israeli troops shot and wounded at least 24 Palestinians during the violence, which was triggered by crudely drawn leaflets depicting the Muslim prophet Mohammed as a pig.

Violence breaks out in Hebron
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The violence started about noon. Dozens of Arab youths threw rocks, bottles and gasoline bombs at soldiers and Jewish settlers after breaking away from a peaceful protest called in response to the drawings. Israeli troops responded with rubber-coated metal bullets.

The drawings showed a pig donning an Arab headdress with the word Mohammed written on it in Arabic and English. The pig is stomping with one foot on the Muslim holy book, the Koran, while holding a pen in the other. Islam and Judaism regard pigs as unclean and ban the eating of pork.

Israeli police on Saturday arrested a 25-year-old Jewish woman from Jerusalem on suspicion of pasting the posters on about 20 storefronts in Hebron.

Israeli officials, including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, condemned the posters.

streets of Hebron on Tuesday

"Only a sick mind could draw a connection between a pig, the Koran and Mohammed," Jerusalem District Court Judge Ezra Kama said on Tuesday, rejecting an appeal by the suspect, Tatiana Susskind, to be released from police custody.

Susskind told reporters at the court building that police had coerced her into confessing.

Some of Tuesday's Palestinian protesters distributed drawings of Netanyahu as a pig.

2 soldiers wounded by pipe bomb

After the pipe bomb fell among a group of Israeli soldiers in an alley, two of them collapsed to the ground, bleeding and screaming in pain.

Fellow soldiers carried the two to a nearby enclave of Jewish settlers. A doctor at Jerusalem's Hadassah Hospital said both men were in surgery and that one was severely injured.

There had been reports of a new security cooperation between Israel and the Palestinians before these latest troubles, but Palestinian police in Hebron stayed away during Tuesday's violence.

Asked why his men were not at the scene, the Palestinian deputy commander of Hebron, Col. Awni Natche, said: "We are preventing more people from reaching the area."

Tensions have been fueled by a freeze in Israeli-Palestinian peace talks over Israel's groundbreaking for a new Jewish housing project in Jerusalem.

Jerusalem Bureau Chief Walter Rodgers and Reuters contributed to this report.

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