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Israeli forces raid Jerusalem protest village

Jan. 20, 2013 10:18 A.M. (Updated: Jan. 21, 2013 9:02 A.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- Dozens of people were lightly injured on Sunday as Israeli forces raided a newly erected Palestinian protest village in northwest Jerusalem, activists said.

Local activist Nabil Habana said Israeli forces raided the al-Karamah (Dignity) village in Beit Iksa and issued demolition and evacuation orders.

Activists tried to prevent soldiers from reaching their tents, with soldiers firing tear gas canisters and sound bombs at the protesters, Habana added.

Earlier, Israeli troops entered the al-Karamah village at around 7 a.m., photographing the structures and preventing more protesters and supporters from arriving.

It was the third time troops had entered the area.

Spokesman for the protest village, Bilal Kiswani, said the repeated incursions by Israeli forces indicate that the al-Karamah village will be demolished soon.

There are over 100 activists from nearby areas at the protest village, and they will remain on the land despite Israeli orders to leave, he added.

Local groups set up the new tented protest village northwest of Jerusalem on Friday, the second such initiative against Israeli settlement building in as many weeks.

On Wednesday, Israeli forces tore down the tented village Bab al-Shams, set up to protest Israel's plans to build the "E1" settlement on the land, severing the West Bank from Jerusalem.

Beit Iksa, surrounded by Israeli settlements, is set to be entirely encircled by Israel's separation wall, cutting it off from Jerusalem.

When completed, the wall will annex 96 percent of Beit Iksa's land, according to a study by the Applied Research Institute - Jerusalem.
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