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Israeli forces assault Ma'an staff near Bethlehem

May 14, 2013 5:00 P.M. (Updated: May 17, 2013 10:16 A.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- Israeli soldiers on Tuesday assaulted two Ma'an staff members amid clashes in the Bethlehem-area village of al-Khader.

Reporter Mirna al-Atrash suffered bruises to her hands and shoulders after being shoved by soldiers while covering the clashes. She received medical treatment at the scene.

Photographer Ahmad Mezher suffered a minor hand injury in the clashes.

An Israeli army spokeswoman said she was looking into the incident.

Earlier, several Palestinians were injured by tear gas during a rally marking Nakba Day, which kicked off from Bethlehem's Duheisha refugee camp.

A Ma'an reporter said about 300 Palestinians marched on the main road in Duheisha camp headed towards displaced Palestinian villages south of Bethlehem.

As the rally arrived in the old town of al-Khader and headed to the bypass Israeli road, Rt. 60, Israeli soldiers attacked the rally with tear-gas canisters and rubber-coated bullets.

Israeli troops also detained the coordinator of a popular committee against settlements Mazin al-Azzah.

An army spokeswoman said 150 Palestinians were hurling rocks, and soldiers responded with riot-dispersal means.

She denied reports of an arrest.

More than 760,000 Palestinians -- estimated today to number 4.8 million with their descendants -- were pushed into exile or driven out of their homes in the conflict surrounding Israel's creation in 1948.

Around 160,000 Palestinians, who remained in Israel after 1948, now number around 1.36 million people, or 20 percent of the country's population.
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