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Israeli soldiers spray foul-smelling chemical on Manger Street homes

July 19, 2014 1:02 P.M. (Updated: July 21, 2014 2:12 P.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- Israeli forces sprayed homes and shops along Bethlehem's Manger Street with a foul-smelling chemical on Friday night following clashes with local youths protesting in solidarity with Gaza.

On Friday evening, Israeli forces opened fire on youths in northern Bethlehem with stun grenades and rubber-coated steel bullets after large marches broke out in the area near Rachel's Tomb.

After midnight, Israeli forces brought in trucks that sprayed the sides of buildings along Manger Street with a putrid-smelling chemical known as "Skunk."

The chemical was sprayed along Bethlehem's main street primarily in the areas in front of the Paradise Hotel and Azza refugee camp, and as of morning the area continued to smell of sewage.

The chemical has been used frequently against residential areas in Bethlehem in recent weeks, in what many suspect is a form of punishment toward local residents for nightly protests by local youths against Israeli offensives in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank.

In June, an elderly woman was injured after soldiers fired the chemical with a cannon mounted on a truck into her home, breaking the glass of the window and causing her to pass out from the smell.

Protests against the most recent Israeli assault on Gaza, which has killed more than 320 in the last 12 days, have been violently dispersed by Israeli forces, and at times Palestinian security forces have deployed to prevent youths from reaching the area of the separation wall as it cuts through northern Bethlehem.

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