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Israel media: 'Flytilla' passengers join protests

July 9, 2011 6:16 P.M. (Updated: July 11, 2011 1:28 P.M.)
RAMALLAH (Ma'an) -- Israeli news reports said Saturday that two demonstrations in the occupied West Bank included activists onboard the so-called "flytilla" that arrived Friday.

More than 100 participants were detained at Ben Gurion International Airport upon arrival but according to Israeli reports, others managed to join protesters in two towns near Ramallah.

A report by Israel's Channel 10 said activists attended demonstrations in Nabi Saleh and Qalandia, where hundreds gathered to mark the anniversary of a key court ruling against Israel's separation wall.

In Qalandia, some foreign protesters declined to say how they arrived in the West Bank, a Ma'an correspondent said. One foreigner would say only that he arrived via Ben Gurion, but it was not clear when.

A group of elderly foreign nationals attended the demonstration in Nabi Saleh, the same correspondent said. He reported that the army refused to allow journalists to approach the demonstrators.

A nine-year-old boy sustained bruises and burns to the right leg after soldiers fired a tear gas canister toward him, the correspondent said. The demonstrators were not throwing stones beforehand, he said.

In Bethlehem, one of the "flytilla" organizers told Ma'an that it was possible that a handful of the passengers joined in the protests. There were 11 activists in the West Bank as of Saturday, he said.

Israeli activist Kobi Snitz, who was in Nabi Saleh on Saturday, disputed the media reports in an interview with the Israeli website 972 Magazine. Snitz said he had not seen a single "air flotilla" passenger there.

In the same post, Tel Aviv-based journalist Joseph Dana commented that it was "strange for a story that is based in unsubstantiated reports to become the headline of every major newspaper website in Israel."
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