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Israeli forces detain, injure Palestinians in clashes across West Bank, Gaza

May 19, 2017 5:11 P.M. (Updated: May 20, 2017 4:46 P.M.)
Photo of clashes in the Nablus-area village of Beita
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) -- At least 12 Palestinians were detained, while numerous Palestinians were injured on Friday, as clashes between Palestinians and Israeli forces erupted across the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip, with Israeli forces wounding several Palestinians with live ammunition.

Palestinians across the West Bank have launched several marches and protests in recent days in solidarity with some 1,300 hunger-striking Palestinian prisoners, who entered their 33rd day of a mass strike on Friday.

Meanwhile, tens of Palestinians were also injured during clashes in the West Bank on Thursday, with many injured by live ammunition after protests erupted following the killing of a 23-year-old Palestinian who was shot in the head by an Israeli settler in the Nablus-area village of Huwwara following a solidarity march in the area.

An Israeli army spokesperson told Ma'an regarding protests in the West Bank on Friday that "a number of violent riots took place in Judea and Samaria," using the Israeli term for the West Bank, when "hundreds of Palestinians lit tires on fire, threw firebombs and rocks" at Israeli forces. She added that Israeli forces responded with "crowd control means in order to disperse the riots."

She could not confirm to Ma'an that Israeli forces had used live ammunition on the Palestinian protesters.

Hebron district

In the village of Beit Ummar in Hebron, tens of Palestinians suffered from tear gas inhalation during clashes with Israeli forces during a march held in solidarity with the hunger strikers.

Local activist Muhammad Ayyad Awad told Ma’an that the march was set off from the village’s hunger strike solidarity tent following Friday prayers. He said that Israeli forces suppressed the march by firing tear gas canisters and sound bombs at the protesters, causing several cases of tear gas inhalation.

Palestinians, meanwhile, set fire to rubber tires and an Israeli flag, according to Awad.

Awad added that Israeli forces were stationed on the roof of a home belonging to local resident Muhammad Saleh Abu Ayyash and that two Palestinians, who he described as “youths,” were detained during the clashes, but were able to wriggle out of the soldiers’ grasps and run away.

However, Awad said that Israeli forces were successful in detaining 17-year-old Hasan Muhammad Sabarna after raiding his home and transporting him to Israel’s Etzion detention center.

Meanwhile, in the Bab al-Zawiya area of the Old City in Hebron, local and medical sources told Ma'an that Israeli forces fired tear gas canisters and rubber-coated steel bullets at Palestinians after clashes erupted following a march organized in solidarity with hunger strikers following Friday prayers.

Sources added that four Palestinians were injured with rubber bullets, while three Palestinians suffered from tear gas inhalation and were transferred to the Hebron governmental hospital. Four Palestinians were also detained by Israeli forces, according to the sources.

In the village of Bani Naim, clashes also erupted, with Israeli forces firing tear gas canisters at Palestinians, causing an elderly man in the village to suffer from tear gas inhalation. He was transferred to Hebron city for medical treatment.

Bethlehem city

Witnesses told Ma’an that Israeli forces disguised as Palestinian protesters “kidnapped” six Palestinian “youths” at gunpoint after infiltrating a crowd of protesters during clashes that erupted at the northern entrance of Bethlehem city.

Palestinian security sources confirmed the reports, adding that the identities of the six detained Palestinians remained unknown.

Sources added that Israeli forces fired tear-gas canisters and sound bombs at Palestinian protesters, causing many to suffer from severe tear gas inhalation.

Ramallah district

At least seven Palestinians were injured with live fire and rubber-coated steel bullets during clashes that erupted in the villages of Nilin and Abud, as well as the Qalandiya military checkpoint in the central occupied West Bank Ramallah area.

In the Abud village, several Palestinian youths were injured with live bullets during clashes that erupted at the entrance of the village following a march that was organized in solidarity with hunger-striking Palestinian prisoners.

The crowd of protesters, which consisted of residents of Abud as well as Palestinians from at least 10 other northern-Ramallah villages, marched from the village’s mosque and headed to the entrance of the village, where armed Israeli forces were deployed.

Israeli forces fired live ammunition, tear gas canisters, sound bombs, and rubber-coated steel bullets at protesters, as five Palestinians were injured with live ammunition to the lower part of the body and one protester was injured with a rubber bullet in the leg, according to the Palestinian Red Crescent. 

A Palestinian infant was also reported to be in a "serious health condition" after inhaling tear gas shot by Israeli forces, the Red Crescent added.

The Palestinian Ministry of Health later reported that the one-and-a-half year old infant boy was transferred to Israel's Hadassa Hispital overnight on Friday and was in critical condition due to the tear gas inhalation.

Protesters responded by throwing rocks at Israeli soldiers, who closed the entrance to the village and prevented people from passing in or out.

At the Qalandiya military checkpoint -- which was the site of violent clashes Thursday night -- two Palestinians were injured, one of them in his mouth, with rubber-coated steel bullets in clashes that erupted following a solidarity march that set off from the Qalandiya refugee camp.

Israeli forces, stationed behind large cement by cement blocks, fired rubber-coated steel bullets, tear gas canisters, and sound bombs at Palestinians who threw rocks and empty bottles at the soldiers.

In the village of Nilin, three Palestinians were injured with rubber-coated bullets, while others suffered from severe tear gas inhalation during clashes that erupted at the main entrance of the village, following a march in support of hunger strikers.

Nilin locals gathered at an Israeli bypass road near Nilin and closed it entirely to Israeli settler vehicles, causing a traffic jam.

Israeli soldiers chased the Palestinians back into the village, heavily firing rubber-coated steel bullets at protesters and Palestinian journalists covering the clashes.

One Palestinian protester was detained after Israeli forces violently assaulted him.

Salfit district

In the village of Deir Istiya in the Salfit district, Israeli forces imposed a closure on the village and declared it a “closed military area” in order to prevent Palestinians from performing Friday prayers in the northern side of the village in support of the hunger strikers.

According to local activist Nathmi Salman, the Israeli army prevented Palestinian locals and foreign supporters from entering the village after distributing fliers saying that the area was a “closed military area,” while installing checkpoints at all entrances to the village.

Nathmi told Ma’an that Israeli forces carried out the procedures to prevent Palestinians from performing Friday prayers at the Wadi Abu Nasser area of the village in solidarity with hunger strikers and to demand the reopening of the agricultural road that has been closed by Israeli forces.

However, the coordinator for the popular committee against the wall and settlements in the Salfit district Rizq Abu Nasser told Ma’an that clashes erupted between Palestinians and Israeli forces in the area following Friday prayers in Wadi Abu Nasser and noted that the clashes erupted before the closure was implemented on the village.

Abu Nasser added that Israeli forces also prevented journalists from entering the village and reportedly threatened to detain anyone who attempted to violate their orders and enter the town.

Nablus district

In the northern West Bank district of Nablus, clashes erupted during solidarity protests in the villages of Beita -- the hometown of 23-year-old Muataz Bani Shamsa, who was shot dead by an Israeli settler Thursday -- and Beit Dajan.

Spokesperson of the Palestinian Red Crescent in Nablus Ahmad Jibreel told Ma’an that a Palestinian was injured with live fire in his thigh, and three others were injured with rubber-coated steel bullets, while more than 40 suffered from tear gas inhalation during clashes in Beita.

Jibreel said that the Palestinian injured with live fire was in moderate condition and was being transferred to the Rafidiya Governmental Hospital in Nablus city.

Israeli forces banned medical crews of the Red Crescent from passing through the nearby Huwwara military checkpoint south of Nablus, Jibreel said.

In the village of Beit Dajan, Jibreel reported that six Palestinians suffered from severe tear gas inhalation during clashes, where Jibreel said Israeli forces deliberately targeted Red Crescent crews with their fire.

Witnesses in the area told Ma’an that Israelis settlers threw rocks at Palestinian vehicles passing the Yitzhar settlement road south of Nablus, while Israeli forces closed the Beita junction with cement blocks, as well as the Yitzhar road, and the Huwwara and Zaatara checkpoints.

Qalqiliya district

In the district of Qalqiliya, Israeli forces suppressed a march in the village of Kafr Qaddum held in solidarity with the hunger strikers, injuring several Palestinians with rubber-coated bullets, including two who locals reported to be children.

According to the popular resistance coordinator of the village Murad Shteiwi, the march was expected to be launched following Friday prayers. However, Israeli forces raided the village and deployed themselves around Omar al-Khatab mosque while residents were performing prayers in an attempt to block the march from starting.

Following prayers, Shteiwi said that clashes erupted with Israeli forces, who fired tear gas, sound bombs, and rubber bullets at Palestinians, causing injuries to nine Palestinians, and two "children," he said and damaging five cars owned by residents of the village.

He added that despite Israeli attempts at preventing the march, it was still launched with the participation of hundreds of Palestinians.

Gaza Strip

Two Palestinian youths were injured with live bullets, fired by Israeli forces during clashes that erupted near the Nahel Oz Israeli military site along the border of the central Gaza Strip.

Israeli forces fired live fire and tear gas at Palestinians who were protesting in solidarity with hunger-striking prisoners and against the near-decade long Israeli siege imposed on the small coastal enclave.

In the Jabaliya refugee camp in northern Gaza, two Palestinians were injured with live fire near al-Shuhada cemetary, as Israeli forces fired tear gas at protesters and ambulances.

Protests have also sprung up in Khan Yunis, the Bureij refugee camp, and near the northern border of the Beit Lahiya town.

An Israeli army spokesperson told Ma’an that “hundreds of Palestinians began a number of violent riot across the Gaza Strip. Rioters are currently igniting fires and hurling rocks; Israeli army forces are using crowd control means, including firing warning shots into the air and towards main perpetrators.”

The spokesperson added that they were aware of reports that two Palestinians were injured, though she did not specify the location where the two were injured.

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