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Palestinians rally for Gaza in West Bank, dozens injured

Nov. 16, 2012 9:28 A.M. (Updated: Nov. 18, 2012 3:23 A.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- Dozens of Palestinians were injured as demonstrations were held across the West Bank on Friday in support of Gaza under its third day of Israeli bombardment.

Mohammad Maher Jumaah, 22, was seriously injured after a tear gas canister hit him in the back of the head at a protest in Kafr Kaddum in the central West Bank, organizers said.

Hundreds of Palestinians, Israelis and foreign activists joined a march in the village, holding banners saying 'Relief of Gaza', protest spokesman Murad Ishtiwi told Ma'an.

Jumaah was taken to Rafidiya hospital in Nablus, along with dozens of others who suffered tear gas inhalation after Israeli forces ambushed the protesters, sparking several hours of clashes, Ishtiwi said. One person was detained at the protest, he added. The army did not have a record of the arrest.

In Bethlehem, Israeli forces fired foul-smelling chemical liquid and tear gas as protesters gathered outside Aida refugee camp to support Gaza.

A Red crescent official said Mahmoud Masalmeh, 21, was hit in the head with a tear gas canister and evacuated with serious wounds. His condition later stabilized.

Bethlehem crescent representative Abdul Halim Jaafreh said 27 protesters were taken to Beit Jala hospital and 35 others treated at the scene, as dozens threw rocks at an Israeli army watchtower.

Protesters also clashed with forces in nearby al-Masara and Tekoa, a Ma'an reporter said.

Protests around the West Bank

In Jenin, Samih al-Qat, in his 20s, was wounded by rubber bullets in clashes with Israel forces near the Jalama crossing into Israel, a Ma'an reporter said.

Youth headed to the checkpoint after Friday prayers, throwing stones and empty bottles at forces who fired rubber bullets and stun grenades at protesters.

Al-Jalama town was locked down for an hour and a half during the clashes, residents said.

Protesters descended on the Enav checkpoint east of Tulkarem after Friday prayers, and were met with rubber bullets and tear gas fired by Israeli forces, a Ma'an correspondent said. No injuries were reported.

Near Ramallah, the army said four were arrested at a demonstration in Nabi Saleh and two Palestinians were injured in a protest in Bilin village condemning the assault on Gaza.

Ahmad Adib Abu Rahmeh, 12, was hit by a rubber bullet in his back. His father Adib Abu Rahmeh, 41, was wounded in the leg by a tear gas canister, and dozens of Palestinians, foreign and Israeli peace activists suffered vomiting and suffocation due to tear gas, the local popular committee said.

Near Hebron, Israeli forces clashed with Palestinians at a weekly demonstration in Beit Ummar, dedicated in solidarity with the Gaza Strip.

Popular committee spokesman Mohammad Awad told Ma'an several residents fled their homes after they filled with tear gas.

An Israeli army spokesman said forces used riot dispersal means at a number of locations around the West Bank as protesters threw stones and burned tires.

In Hebron city, political and religious figures led a march to the main square, demanding the Arab world do more to stop the bombardment of Gaza, in which 28 Palestinians have died since Wednesday.

Protesters also marched in solidarity with Gaza in central Ramallah and Nablus in the northern West Bank.
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