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Hospital: Palestinian man shot dead by Israeli army

JERUSALEM (AP) — A Palestinian man was killed Thursday morning during a clash between Palestinians and Israeli troops in the West Bank, a Palestinian hospital official and the Israeli army said.

Falah Abu Maria, 53, was killed by three live bullets shot at his chest at close range, said Yousef Takrouri, deputy director of Al-Ahli Hospital in the West Bank city of Hebron. He said Abu Maria’s 22-year-old son was shot in the legs, and another one of his sons was brought to the hospital with light injuries to his face.

The Palestinian Authority’s official news agency Wafa said Abu Maria was killed “in cold blood” while trying to protect his two sons.

The Israeli military said its troops were carrying out an arrest raid in the village of Beit Omar when they were confronted by “a violent mob.” It said a Palestinian attacked a soldier, who responded by firing at the attacker’s legs.

As forces left the scene, the army said, Palestinians threw rocks and bricks at them and forces fired toward the “main instigator.”

Later, hundreds of Palestinians flowed through the streets in a funeral procession. Palestinians hurled rocks and firebombs at Israeli troops, who responded with “riot dispersal means,” the army said.

In Jerusalem, Israeli police said vandals drew swastikas at a Jewish seminary and set fire to a decorative curtain on the ark that holds a Torah scroll.

Yonatan Steinberger, a student at the Jewish studies seminary, says the Torah scroll was found on the floor of the seminary a few days before. Police said they are investigating.

Also, two Israeli brothers convicted of setting fire to a bilingual Hebrew-Arabic school in Jerusalem last year have been sentenced to imprisonment, a court spokeswoman said.

In a plea bargain, a Jerusalem court on Wednesday sentenced Nahman Twito, 18, to two and a half years in prison and Shlomo Twito, 20, to two years in prison. A third suspect is still on trial.

The brothers confessed to setting fire to a classroom in the Jerusalem school, which has both Jewish and Arab students, last November. Graffiti was also found on the walls reading “death to Arabs.”

As part of the plea bargain, the court dropped the charge of incitement to violence.

The two brothers are part of the Jewish extremist Lehava group opposed to Arab-Jewish coexistence. Mosques, churches, dovish Israeli groups and even Israeli military bases have been targeted by vandals in recent years by mostly teenage Jewish extremists to protest what they perceive as the Israeli government’s pro-Palestinian policies. The acts have been widely condemned by Israeli leaders across the political spectrum.

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Associated Press writer Miriam Berger contributed to this report.

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