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2 injured in Bilin clashes

Jan. 24, 2014 7:06 P.M. (Updated: Jan. 25, 2014 5:25 P.M.)
RAMALLAH (Ma'an) -- Two Palestinians were injured and dozens suffered from excessive tear gas inhalation on Friday after Israeli forces dispersed a protest in the northern West Bank village of Bilin.

Israeli forces fired tear gas, rubber-coated steel bullets, stun grenades, and live 0.22 inch caliber bullets at protesters as they neared their lands close to the wall during the weekly protest.

Nimer Atta, 19, was shot with a 0.22 bullet in the foot and taken to Palestine Medical Complex in Ramallah, while Wael Burnat, 35, was shot in the hand.

Protesters raised Palestinian flags and chanted songs for unity, and slogans in resistance against the Israeli occupation.

An Israeli army spokeswoman said that a "riot erupted" in Bilin during which protesters "hurled rocks" at Israeli soldiers.

She added that Israeli forces "used riot dispersal means" to confront protesters, and she confirmed that a protester had been hit after soldiers opened fire with .22 caliber bullets.

Since 2005, Bilin villagers have protested on a weekly basis against the Israeli separation wall that runs through their village on land confiscated from local farmers.

Previous protests by Bilin activists have forced the Israeli authorities to re-route the wall, but large chunks of the village lands remain inaccessible to residents because of the route.

The internationally recognized Palestinian territories of which the West Bank and East Jerusalem form a part have been occupied by the Israeli military since 1967.
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