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11 detained at rally near Bethlehem

Aug. 10, 2011 3:38 P.M. (Updated: Aug. 11, 2011 12:50 P.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) -- Israeli forces detained 11 protesters Wednesday afternoon during a rally in the village of Al-Walaja, near Bethlehem, the village committee and Israel's army said.

Alaa Darras, a member of the village's local committee against the wall, said Israeli troops dispersed the rally using tear gas and stun grenades.

Soldiers also physically attacked protesters before detaining four internationals, six Israelis and a Palestinian man identified as Hisham Khalid Al-Atrash, Darras said.

Three activists were mildly injured as a result of the stun grenades.

The activists were protesting the Israeli separation wall, which annexes village land.

An army spokeswoman said that the detained activists were in Israeli police custody.

The village of Al-Walaja was, in 1948, the second largest land area after Jerusalem but was cut down to one third the size when Israel declared statehood that year.

Now a border village, Al-Walaja is edged on its eastern flank by an expanding bloc of settlements and is being reduced in size by the path of the wall, which annexes between two to three kilometers of village lands from the pre-1967 border.
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