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Israeli forces critically injure Palestinian with live fire in Azzun

Feb. 14, 2015 3:10 P.M. (Updated: Feb. 18, 2015 2:34 P.M.)
QALQILIYA (Ma'an) -- A 20-year-old Palestinian was injured Saturday after Israeli soldiers shot him in the head with a live bullet as he was taking part in a march in the Qalqiliya-area village of Azzun in the northern West Bank.

The victim of the Israeli attack was identified as Imad Suleiman al-Khawli, and he was taken to the Qalqiliya Governmental Hospital for treatment where his injuries were described as critical.

Al-Khawli was one of many taking part in a rally demanding Israeli authorities lift restrictions on freedom of movement for Palestinian residents of Azzun.

The march set off from the center of Azzun towards the eastern entrance of the town, which according to Israeli rights monitor B'tselem has been closed since 1990.

As marchers gathered in the area, Israeli soldiers shot tear-gas canisters and live fire at the crowds.

Al-Khawli was left injured along with dozens more who suffered from excessive tear gas inhalation, including the governor of Qalqiliya region.

An Israeli military spokeswoman did not immediately return a request for comment.

Azzun's approximately 10,000 residents have long been subject to Israeli military restrictions, and for a number of years in the 2000s all entrances to the town were blocked except a tunnel into neighboring villages. The tunnel was sometimes blocked as well, forcing locals to travel on foot.

In the last decade most restrictions on movement have been lifted, but the eastern entrance remains blocked by Israeli military order.

Azzun is surrounded on all sides by areas under Israeli military control and an Israeli settlement bloc sits directly to the south.

It has one of the highest rates of detainees per capita of all villages in the occupied West Bank, including many children.
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