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West Bank protester seriously injured by gas canister

Dec. 9, 2011 3:12 P.M. (Updated: Dec. 10, 2011 12:20 P.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- A tear-gas canister fired by Israeli forces struck and seriously injured a Palestinian demonstrator in the occupied West Bank, protesters said Friday.

Onlookers said Mustafa Tamimi, 28, suffered a critical head wound after being struck in the face by the canister in Nabi Saleh.

The village hosts weekly protests against land confiscation for an illegal settlement, and Israel has cracked down on its residents, carrying out night raids and arresting accused stone-throwers.

"Tamimi is in very critical condition. Half his face is gone," said Linah Alsaafin, a Ramallah-based blogger. She was reporting from the scene in Nabi Saleh, near Ramallah.

He "was throwing rocks at the (Israeli army) jeep, the door opened and the canister was fired with precision and intent straight in his face," Alsaafin recounted on Twitter.

"To use their term, 'surgical precision'," she added.

Activists distributed photographs and video showing Tamimi, his face covered in blood, being lifted off the ground after his injury. He was later taken to hospital.

The activists said the Israeli army had initially prevented an ambulance from arriving at the village. A military spokeswoman said the man was evacuated to an Israeli hospital.

The official told Ma'an said the injury occurred during "a violent and illegal riot" in which protesters threw stones. Forces responded with "riot-dispersal means," she said.

"The incident is currently being investigated," she added.

A teenage boy suffered a leg fracture after being struck by a rubber-coated bullet, onlookers added. A young woman's arm was also broken during the demonstration, they said.

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