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Soldiers kill 2 in raid on refugee camp

Aug. 1, 2011 9:04 A.M. (Updated: Aug. 2, 2011 9:02 P.M.)
RAMALLAH (Ma’an) – Israeli forces shot dead two Palestinians during an arrest raid near Ramallah in the central West Bank early Monday, onlookers and medical officials said.

Witnesses told Ma’an that soldiers stormed Qalandiya refugee camp at dawn and as they ransacked homes, confrontations erupted between the army and local residents.

The soldiers began to shoot indiscriminately and 22-year-old Mutasim Issa Udwan sustained a gunshot wound to the head. He died immediately. Another young man, Ali Khalifa, was shot in the stomach and died in hospital in Ramallah. A third young man, identified as Maamoon Awwad, suffered a back injury.

The two who were killed were Palestinian military intelligence officers, according to locals. Medical sources in Ramallah hospital confirmed two young men were killed, yet they did not give further details.

The soldiers eventually detained two men, Wajih Ayman Al-Khatib and Anas Manasrah.

Witnesses said the invading troops ransacked several homes during the operation which lasted a few hours.

An Israeli military spokeswoman told Ma’an that a riot broke out during a "routine arrest procedure." Soldiers opened fire after five soldiers were injured by stones, she added.

The raid drew swift condemnation from Palestinian officials.

President Mahmoud Abbas' office denounced the deadly operation, his spokesman said.

Nabil Abu Rudeina told government media that the raid amounted to "an Israeli attempt to escalate things ahead of September," when the PLO plans to seek recognition of statehood from the United Nations.

"The Israeli government is responsible for this escalation," he added.
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