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20 Palestinians injured, 1 critically, after Israeli forces violently disperse march

Oct. 15, 2016 7:27 P.M. (Updated: Oct. 16, 2016 7:27 P.M.)
RAMALLAH (Ma'an) -- Some 20 Palestinians were injured, one critically with a live bullet to the head, on Saturday evening during clashes at the main entrance to the al-Jalazun refugee camp in northern Ramallah in the central occupied West Bank, following a march commemorating the first anniversary of the killing of 13-year-old Ahmad Sharaka, who was shot and killed by Israeli forces last year during clashes.

Palestinian youth threw rocks, Molotov cocktails, and empty bottles at Israeli soldiers who attempted to disperse the demonstration by firing live ammunition, rubber-coated steel bullets, and tear gas canisters at the dozens of participants in the march
, before Israeli soldiers eventually retreated to the illegal Israeli Beit El settlement.

Fares Ziad al-Bayed, 16, was critically injured after being shot in the head with a live bullet, according to local sources.

Another unidentified Palestinian was injured by shrapnel from live ammunition in his back, while three others were shot in the head with rubber-coated steel bullets.

Sources added that some 14 others were shot and injured with rubber-coated steel bullets in various places on their body, while another was injured when Israeli forces fired a tear gas canister at his head.

A number of the wounded were evacuated to the Palestine Medical Center for treatment, including al-Bayed who was undergoing surgery.

An Israeli army spokesperson later confirmed that live fire was used during the clashes, saying that she was aware of reports of injuries but could not confirm them.

She said that after "violent riots" erupted at the entrance to the refugee camp, with dozens of Palestinians rolling burning tires and hurling "firebombs" at Israeli soldiers, Israeli forces "responded to the threat by firing toward main instigators," and that live ammunition was used "due to the extent of the violence."

The march was staged to commemorate the anniversary of the death of 13-year-old Ahmad, who was a resident of al-Jalazun refugee camp. He was shot in the neck with live fire during clashes in al-Bireh on Oct. 11, 2015, and succumbed to his wounds shortly after.

Ahmad was among 233 to be killed by Israeli forces and settlers since a wave of unrest spread across the occupied Palestinian territory in October last year.

The violence has mostly been characterized by small-scale attacks with knives or similar weapons by Palestinians on Israeli targets, however, at least 62 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces during clashes, police and/or army raids since Oct. 1, 2015.

Most recently, 20-year-old Ali Atef Shuyukhi was shot and killed by Israeli forces on Tuesday night during clashes that erupted in the town of Silwan in occupied East Jerusalem just south of the Old City, amid ongoing violent police raids in the Jerusalem area.

Israeli police and soldiers have come under heavy criticism over the past year for what rights groups have referred to as “extrajudicial executions” and excessive use of force against Palestinians -- especially youth and children -- who did not pose an immediate threat or who could have been disarmed through non-lethal means.
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