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In Photos:
In photos: Thousands mark Ibrahimi massacre anniversary in Hebron

Feb. 22, 2014 10:39 P.M. (Updated: Feb. 25, 2014 3:34 P.M.)

The streets of central Hebron filled with protesters on Friday afternoon as around 2,000 Palestinian and international activists marked the 20th anniversary of the Ibrahimi mosque massacre.

Protesters marched through the southern West Bank city calling for the re-opening of Shuhada Street, a major thoroughfare that was closed by Israeli forces in the wake of the 1994 killing of 29 Palestinian worshipers by an armed Jewish extremist.

Demonstrators were met with violence by Israeli soldiers, who maintain a heavy presence in Hebron's Old City near areas where around 500 Jewish settlers have taken over properties.

(MaanImages/Em Awne Abu Shamsiya)

Protesters marched from Sheikh Ali al-Bakaa mosque towards the eastern entrance of Shuhada street, but Israeli forces began firing stun grenades and tear gas canisters at demonstrators as they reached Bab al-Baladiya area, organizers said.

Shuhada street was once a major thoroughfare in central Hebron, but after the 1994 massacre Israeli forces shut it to Palestinian traffic under the pretext of preventing reprisal attacks against settlers in the city. The street was never again reopened.

According to Israeli human rights group B'Tselem, by 2007 over 40 percent of the area's Palestinian homes had been abandoned and three-quarters of commercial establishments had shut down to the severe difficulties they faced as a result of the street closure and checkpoints.

An activist campaign to "Open Shuhada Street" is now in its fifth year, but Israeli authorities have so far refused to do so.

Clashes broke out following the protests, turning Hebron's center into a battleground for hours on Friday afternoon.

Coordinator for the activist group Youths against Settlements Issa Amro said that Israeli forces chased protesters into the Bab al-Zawya neighborhood and fired rubber-coated steel bullets, injuring 13.

Five other protesters were detained by Israeli forces over the course of the clashes, including Badee al-Dweik, Tamer al-Atrash, Mohammad Zughayyer, Farid al-Atrash, and Issa Amro himself.

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