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More than 70 injured in non-violent demonstration near Bethlehem

Feb. 22, 2008 6:23 P.M. (Updated: Feb. 22, 2008 6:23 P.M.)
Bethlehem - Ma'an - At least 70 people were injured, including a number of children, during a non-violent demonstration against the Israeli separation wall in the village of Al-Khader, south of Bethlehem on Friday.

43 people, 13 of them women and children, were admitted to hospital suffering from tear gas inhalation, the demonstration organizer Samir Jaber told Ma'an.

18 people were hit by rubber bullets and were taken to Al-Yamameh Hopspital. Three people, including two children suffered severe bruising, after they were beaten by Israeli soldiers trying to disperse the crowd.

Organizers said that more than 1,500 local villagers and Israeli and international peace activists attended this week's demonstration against the Separation Wall and confiscation of village land.

The protest began after Friday prayers at the southern entrance to the village. Israeli soldiers sprayed the demonstrators with tear gas canisters and rubber bullets.

Dr. Mohamed Odeh from the Palestinian Medical Relief and two other ambulance staff were also injured as they tried to evacuate the injured from the scene.

Medical Relief condemned the Israeli soldiers' attack on their staff, saying that it is not the first time that members of their medical crews have come under Israeli attack, which is "a flagrant violation of international law, that guarantees medical crews neutrality."

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