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Bil'in protester dies after inhaling tear gas

Jan. 1, 2011 11:21 A.M. (Updated: Jan. 2, 2011 12:45 P.M.)
RAMALLAH (Ma’an) – A Palestinian woman died Saturday morning after suffering intense tear-gas inhalation during an anti-wall rally in Bil’in on Friday, medics said.

Palestinian medical sources in Ramallah said 36-year-old Jawahir Abu Rahmah, from Bil’in, died at Ramallah medical compound. Abu Rahmah inhaled large amounts of tear gas fired by Israeli forces who forcibly dispersed a non-violent rally protesting the separation wall.

The local popular committee said doctors fought through the night to save Abu Rahmah's life. She was diagnosed as suffering from poisoning caused by the active ingredient in the tear-gas, and did not respond to treatment, the committee said in a statement.

"We are shocked and furious for Israel's brutality, which once again cost the life of a peaceful demonstrator. Israel's lethal and inhumane response to our struggle will not pass. In the dawn of a new decade, it is time for the world to ask Israel for accountability and to bring about an end to the occupation," said committee member Mohammed Khatib.

Abu Rahmah's brother Bassem was killed in April 2009 by a tear gas canister fired at his chest by an Israeli soldier during a village demonstration.

Friday's rally was attended by Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Salam Fayyad. Organizers said more than 1,000 demonstrators attended the final protest of the year calling for an end to Israel's land confiscations.

Israeli forces met the protest with tear-gas canisters, hitting one teenager in the face and sending him to hospital. Military officials said they were unaware of injuries, and that around 250 participated in the protest.

An Israeli military spokeswoman said the area was declared a closed military zone in advance of the protest "in an effort to prevent an escalation of the violent and illegal riot" that the village hosts weekly.

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