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2 critically injured in Bethlehem protests

Nov. 19, 2012 2:04 P.M. (Updated: Nov. 20, 2012 1:37 A.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) -- Two Palestinians are in a critical condition after they were injured in Monday clashes with Israeli forces outside Bethlehem, a Ma'an reporter said.

Mohammad Saeed al-Badan, 17, was hit by a bullet in his abdomen and has been evacuated to a specialist hospital in Hebron in a critical condition.

He was taking part in a student protest in Tuqu, southeast of Bethlehem, to protest Israel's military offensive in the Gaza Strip. The demonstration also expressed outrage at the death of village resident Omar Mohammad Hmeid, 26, who died on Saturday.

Locals said his death was the result of head wounds suffered eight years ago when he was detained by Israeli forces for stone-throwing and was hit over the head with the butt of an Israeli soldier's rifle.

Witnesses said Monday's demonstration was met by Israeli forces firing tear gas bombs and sound grenades, and soldiers also blocked the main entrance to the town.

Elsewhere in Bethlehem, 16-year-old Bilal al-Hzaibi was seriously wounded by a tear gas canister that hit him on the right ear in Dar Salah.

Clashes erupted near the al-Hilweh tomb at the western entrance to the town after a protest to support Gaza.

Medics said al-Hzaibi was evacuated to Beit Jala hospital in a critical condition.

In central Bethlehem, clashes resumed for the third day near a military checkpoint. Israeli forces fired rubber bullets, injuring three people, and tear gas canisters, which hurt two protesters.

An Israeli army spokeswoman did not have an immediate comment on the clashes.
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