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Israeli forces open fire on protests across West Bank, injuring dozens

Feb. 7, 2014 8:21 P.M. (Updated: Feb. 9, 2014 10:01 A.M.)
RAMALLAH (Ma'an) -- Dozens of Palestinians were injured on Friday as protesters clashed with Israeli military forces in villages across the West Bank.

Demonstrations against the Israeli occupation took place in Kafr Qaddum, Beit Ummar, al-Jalazun, and Silwad on Friday afternoon.

Israeli forces responded with force injuring more than 30 protesters with live and rubber-coated steel bullets as well as dozens more with excessive firing of tear gas.

Five Israeli soldiers were also reported injured in the clashes after being struck by rocks.

Kafr Qaddum

In the Qalqiliya area village of Kafr Qaddum, four people, including a child, were injured during a weekly protest against the annexation of local land by Israel.

Saqer Obeid, 58, was injured after being struck in the head by a tear gas canister and Mahmoud Riyadh Eshtewi, 5, was struck with a tear gas canister in the leg.

Kamil Barham, 23, and Nasser Hasan, 43, were shot with steel bullets in the hand and foot, while dozens suffered from excessive tear gas inhalation.

Murad Eshtewi, a local coordinator for a popular resistance committee, said the protest started after Friday prayers, with hundreds of villagers and activists marching through the village.

Israeli soldiers and border police units raided the area and fired tear gas, stun grenades and steel bullets at the protesters.

An Israeli army spokesman said "40 Palestinians hurled rocks at Israeli security forces, who responded with riot dispersal means."

Protests are held every Friday in Kafr Qaddum against Israel's closure of a main road linking the village to its nearest city, Nablus. The road has been closed since 2000.

Beit Ummar

In Beit Ummar, two Palestinians were injured and one detained during clashes with Israeli military forces.

Israeli forces fired tear gas at Palestinians congratulating a local man who had been released from an Israeli jail after eight years.

An Israeli soldier was hit by a rock, a local popular resistance committee member said.

Al-Jalazun

Meanwhile, 12 Palestinians were injured with live gunfire and two were struck in the head by tear gas canisters in the Ramallah refugee camp of al-Jalazun.

Dozens of other people were injured by rubber-coated steel bullets and four Israeli soldiers were injured when youths threw a tear canisters at them.

An Israeli spokesman said "300 Palestinians were throwing rocks, firebombs and burning tires. Israeli forces responded with riot dispersal means."

Live fire was used against main instigators, he added.

Silwad

More than 10 Palestinian youths were injured by rubber bullets and nearly 50 suffered from excesive tear gas inhalation during clashes with Israeli forces near the village of Silwad north of Ramallah.

Four Israeli soldiers were also injured during the clashes, according to military sources, and had to be evacuated by ambulance after being struck by rocks.

Protests erupted after noon prayers on the outskirts of town, but turned into clashes that continued into the center of town as large numbers of soldiers raided and chased youths through the village roads.

The internationally recognized Palestinian territories of which the West Bank and East Jerusalem form a part have been occupied by the Israeli military since 1967.
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