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Dozens injured as Israeli forces fire on crowds in Hebron

July 21, 2014 2:11 A.M. (Updated: July 23, 2014 4:45 P.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- Dozens of Palestinians were injured after Israeli forces opened fire on rallies in Hebron celebrating the capture of an Israeli soldier in Gaza and in solidarity with the besieged territory, which saw 100 killed by Israeli forces on Sunday.

Abdallah al-Qawasemi, the medical director at Hebron Governmental Hospital, said that 20 youths had been brought to the hospital after Israeli forces opened live fire on the crowds.

Large rallies also took place in Halhoul, al-Arrub refugee camp, al-Fawwar refugee camp, Ramallah, and other cities across the West Bank and in East Jerusalem as Palestinians greeted the news.

Occupied East Jerusalem saw clashes with Israeli police forces during the rallies.

The Hamas-affiliated al-Qassam Brigades announced earlier on Sunday that it had captured an Israeli soldier during fighting in the Gaza Strip, which has claimed the lives of more than 430 Palestinians -- including 200 in the last three days -- since Israel launched an assault 13 days ago.

Many Palestinians hope that the soldier will be released in exchange for Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails, which number around 6,000.

In 2011, an Israeli soldier was released by Hamas in exchange for more than 1,000 Palestinian prisoners.

40 percent of Palestinian men in the occupied territories have served time in Israeli jails since 1967, and for many sentenced the only possible hope for release is a prisoner exchange.

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