Troops teargas West Bank pupils

Palestinian schoolchildren have scuffled with Israeli soldiers at a checkpoint in Hebron in the West Bank and soldiers fired teargas to disperse them.

    About 300 children swamped the checkpoint

    The children, upset that Israeli soldiers searched their bags and made them lift their shirts before passing through the checkpoint on their way to school, refused to co-operate.

    The group of about 300 elementary school children swarmed around the checkpoint on Tuesday, shouting: "We want freedom to study." They kicked the plastic barrier separating them from Israeli soldiers, witnesses, including an AP reporter, said.

    They said troops raised their rifles but no shots were fired and no one was injured.

    Soldiers scuffled with a few female pupils who confronted them, but the group scattered when soldiers fired teargas into the crowd and arrested two of them, the witnesses said.



    The rest of the pupils went home as part of a strike in protest against the security checks.


    The checkpoint, which has metal detectors and an X-ray scanner, is in an area where resistance activity has been high, the Israeli army said.


    Soldiers used teargas to disperse the crowd because the demonstrators were pushing and shoving the soldiers and refused to undergo a security check, the army said.

    But Muhammed Qawasmeh, the Palestinian Education Minister, said: "The problem is not with the students.


    "The problem is the army and the checkpoints. Pupils who are six and seven years old should not have to be subjected to body searches."

    He said that pupils regularly arrived late for classes and were made to stand outside in bad weather while waiting for about 800 children to clear the checkpoint every morning.

    SOURCE: Agencies


     How Britain Destroyed the Palestinian Homeland

    How Britain Destroyed the Palestinian Homeland

    Ninety-nine years since Balfour's "promise", Palestinians insist that their rights in Palestine cannot be dismissed.

    Afghan asylum seekers resort to sex work in Athens

    Afghan asylum seekers resort to sex work in Athens

    In the rundown Pedion Areos Park, older men walk slowly by young asylum seekers before agreeing on a price for sex.

    Profile: Osama bin Laden

    Profile: Osama bin Laden

    The story of a most-wanted fugitive and billionaire.