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Clashes in Shu'fat spread to neighboring area

Jan. 19, 2011 8:34 P.M. (Updated: Jan. 20, 2011 9:51 P.M.)
JERUSALEM (Ma’an) -- The Shu'fat checkpoint into Jerusalem was closed Tuesday evening after two rounds of clashes broke out in the vicinity, injuring several Palestinians and one soldier, medics said.

As clashes continued Israeli police entered the refugee camp adjacent to the checkpoint, closing all entrances and firing rubber-coated bullets and tear-gas into areas where angry youth had gathered.

Some of the gas canisters were landing in doorsteps, residents said, fearing exposure of children to the noxious gas.

By eight o'clock, clashes erupted in the nearby neighborhood of Ras Al-Amud, which saw Israeli police target rock-throwers with tear-gas and rubber-coated bullets.

Israeli police said clashes erupted near the Shu'fat checkpoint resulted in one soldier being injured and taken to hospital.

Witnesses said the incident started when an argument erupted between a soldier on the checkpoint and a civilian waiting to pass. The argument spiraled into a large quarrel, which was joined by onlookers and eventually young men from the nearby Shuf'at refugee camp started throwing stones at checkpoint soldiers.

A police spokeswoman said the clash was dispersed, but witnesses said tensions remained high and violence erupted a second time.

At the time of publication, witness said 13 Palestinians were injured, including 4 women who were pregnant.

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