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Medics: Palestinian hurt by settler gunfire

March 24, 2012 12:55 P.M. (Updated: March 25, 2012 7:59 P.M.)
RAMALLAH (Ma'an) -- A Palestinian man was shot and injured Saturday during clashes with Israeli settlers who attacked his village in the central West Bank, medical officials said.

Hassan Muatan, 40, was shot in the abdomen after armed settlers stormed the Burqa village east of Ramallah and attempted to vandalize property, witnesses said.

Muatan was evacuated to the Palestine Medical Compound. His wounds were described as moderate.

According to residents of the village, locals confronted the settlers who then opened fire. Security forces also intervened and themselves fired at the villagers, they said.

An Israeli military spokeswoman said the army was aware of the incident but uninvolved.

Settler violence is on the rise. In 2011, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs reported that settler attacks had increased by 50 percent over the previous year.

In a separate development Saturday, settlers uprooted about 85 olive trees in the Bethlehem village of al-Khader, the local anti-wall committee reported.

In 2011, around 10,000 Palestinian-owned trees were destroyed by settlers, OCHA says.
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