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Fatah youth launches West Bank rallies, 6 injured

Nov. 14, 2012 1:41 A.M. (Updated: Nov. 15, 2012 11:17 A.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- Six people were wounded by Israeli forces on Wednesday as Fatah's youth organization organized rallies across the West Bank to kick off a week of activities to commemorate independence day, Ma'an's reporter said.

Fatah youth organized demonstrations in Qalqiliya, Ramallah, Nablus and Hebron, blocking bypass roads linking Israeli settlement infrastructure in the West Bank.

Demonstrators blocked a major bypass road linking Nablus and Ramallah and marched towards Huwwara checkpoint south of Nablus. In Hebron, a large march is expected to start from the village of Dura.

Six people, including chief Islamic judge Sheikh Yusef Ideis, were injured near Atara checkpoint north of Ramallah as soldiers fired tear gas and sound bombs against protesters trying to reach a nearby bypass road, Ma'an's reporter said. Protesters managed to cross the checkpoint and reach Sinjil village, he added.

An Israeli military spokesman said forces used tear gas to disperse the protest.

A group of protesters tried to enter an Israeli settlement near Jaba, east of Ramallah, and were fired on by Israeli forces, a Ma'an reporter said, adding that undercover Israeli forces had joined that march.

Hundreds of Palestinians gathered at the eastern entrance to Qalqiliya, but Israeli soldiers stopped them marching further, witnesses said.

On Monday, head of the committee for national youth week Jibreel Rajoub encouraged Palestinians to take to the streets with Palestinian flags.

"What we are seeking through these activities is to strengthen popular resistance and national unity in order to reflect how our ambitions contradict with the occupation indicating that it is time this occupation disappeared," Rajoub told reporters.

Late President Yasser Arafat declared the independence of Palestine on Nov. 15, 1988, when he was based in Algeria, and the anniversary coincides with national youth week.
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