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1 killed, another 'clinically dead' from Israeli fire on Ramallah demo

July 24, 2014 10:41 P.M. (Updated: July 26, 2014 12:02 A.M.)
Correction appended

RAMALLAH (Ma'an) -- A Palestinian was shot dead by Israeli forces late Thursday as over 20,000 marched from a Ramallah-area refugee camp toward Jerusalem in protest against Israel's Gaza offensive, a Ma'an reporter at the scene said.

The slain Palestinian was identified as 19-year-old Mohammad al-Araj.

Medical sources said another Palestinian, 27-year-old Majd Sufyan, had been declared "clinically dead" after being shot by Israeli forces.

At least 287 Palestinians were injured by Israeli fire during the march, 154 of them with live bullets.

Earlier, Palestinians had marched from al-Amari refugee camp toward Qalandia checkpoint, a militarized crossing point between Ramallah and Jerusalem through Israel's separation wall.

Soldiers shot live fire and rubber-coated steel bullets into the crowd of protesters, in addition to tear gas.

Protesters set tires on fire and threw rocks and empty bottles at the checkpoint.

An Israeli army spokeswoman said thousands of Palestinians were "participating in a violent and illegal riot" in the area.

She said Palestinians were "hurling burning tires, Molotov cocktails, rocks, and fireworks" at Israeli soldiers and border police in the area.

The spokeswoman did not immediately confirm or deny reports that a Palestinian had been killed.

Doctors in the main Ramallah hospital said they had received dozens of live fire victims and appealed for blood donors.

The confrontation, and several smaller skirmishes throughout Israeli-annexed east Jerusalem, came on Laylat al-Qadr, or Night of Destiny, when Muslims pray through the night as the holy month of Ramadan nears its end.

Earlier, police had said that due to fears of violent protest over the deadly Israeli military campaign in the Gaza Strip, they would bar men under the age of 50 from Jerusalem's flashpoint Al-Aqsa mosque for what are usually packed prayers on the last Friday of Ramadan.

Large numbers of police deployed throughout the city on Thursday night and the police said in a statement that two officers were injured by stone throwers in the vicinity of the mosque.

Police said that 20 protesters were arrested in various violent disturbances in Palestinian areas of the city.

Clashes between Palestinians and Israeli forces have been a near-nightly occurrence in the West Bank since the beginning of Israel's offensive on the Gaza Strip on July 8.

The offensive has left at least 797 Palestinians dead and over 5,000 injured.

AFP contributed to this report.

Correction: An earlier version of this report said that two Palestinians had been killed after being shot by Israeli forces. In fact, Majd Sufyan was declared "clinically dead" by medics after being shot by Israeli fire. Also, an initial version of this article misidentified Majd Sufyan as Muhammad Arar.
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