Dec 21, 8:33 AM EST

Palestinians throw stones, injure Israeli boy

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JERUSALEM (AP) -- Palestinians hurling stones on Sunday at Jewish settlers' cars in the West Bank lightly injured a 4-year-old Israeli boy, the Israeli military said.

The incident took place in a settlement area near the West Bank city of Bethlehem. The boy was taken to the hospital, and Israeli troops later combed the area for suspects.

Earlier Sunday, Israeli police arrested five Israelis, including four minors, suspected of planning to attack Palestinians in Jerusalem.

The five had collected rocks in a Jerusalem park and were caught carrying two knives, said police spokeswoman Luba Samri. She said they previously participated in activities of the extremist Jewish group Lehava.

Also Sunday, Israeli police arrested four Lehava activists, part of a recent clampdown on the group which has become a symbol of anti-Arab sentiment in Israel. Four other Lehava activists were briefly detained, Samri said.

The arrests came as Israelis celebrate the weeklong Jewish holiday of Hanukkah.

Last week, police arrested 10 Lehava members, including its leader, on suspicion of racist incitement. The group has sought to break up Arab-Jewish couples and to prevent Jews and Arabs from working together. Three Lehava members were indicted last week on charges of torching a bilingual Hebrew-Arabic school in Jerusalem last month.

In Gaza, a Palestinian border official said Egypt temporarily opened its border crossing Sunday to allow Gazans to cross in and out of Egypt.

The official, Maher Abu Sabha, said the Rafah crossing will only remain open for two days. Several hundred Palestinians crossed into Egypt on Sunday.

The crossing is the main gateway to the outside world for Gaza's 1.7 million residents. Egypt had kept the border closed to Palestinians leaving the territory since an Oct. 24 attack in the Sinai Peninsula that killed 31 Egyptian soldiers.

Last month, Egypt temporarily opened the border to allow Palestinians stranded outside the territory to return home.

Border closures have been common since the Islamic group Hamas seized Gaza in 2007. Israel keeps its border crossing with Gaza mostly sealed.


Associated Press writer Fares Akram contributed to this report from Gaza City, Gaza Strip.

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