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8 Palestinians shot, injured as Qalandiya funeral erupts into clashes

Nov. 16, 2015 6:38 P.M. (Updated: Nov. 17, 2015 1:28 P.M.)
RAMALLAH (Ma'an) -- Israeli forces shot and injured eight Palestinians with live rounds in fierce clashes that broke out across Ramallah district on Monday following the joint funeral of two Palestinians who were killed in Qalandia refugee camp the night before.

Israeli forces reportedly exchanged fire with Palestinian gunmen, thought to be from the refugee camp, for more than 10 minutes during the clashes at Qalandiya checkpoint.

The night before, Ahmad Abu al-Aish, 28, and Laith Ashraf Manasra, 20, were shot dead when hundreds of Israeli soldiers stormed the refugee camp to demolish the home of an alleged Palestinian attacker.

During the raid, the Israeli army said that locals opened fire on the soldiers, who returned fire, killing the two Palestinians and critically wounding a third, who they later detained from inside a Palestinian ambulance.

Following the two Palestinians' joint funeral on Monday, Palestinian youths marched to the checkpoint and threw stones at Israeli forces, who responded with heavy fire, locals said.

Israeli force shot and wounded at least eight with live rounds, and also reportedly detained a photojournalist during the clashes.

An Israeli army spokesperson was unable to provide details, but she said that Qalandiya checkpoint, which connects Ramallah to Jerusalem, had been closed in both directions.

Meanwhile, another nine Palestinians were shot with live rounds and 22 with rubber-coated steel bullets when clashes broke out in al-Bireh district north of Ramallah.

The demonstration was organized by students from Birzeit University and al-Quds Open University, and had been arranged before the two Palestinians from Qalandiya were shot dead overnight.

Palestinian youth threw rocks and Molotov cocktails at Israeli forces, who witnesses say chased Palestinians with military jeeps while shooting tear gas, rubber-coated steel bullets, and live fire at protesters.

Two Palestinian journalists, Shadi Hatem and Baha Nasr, were hit by rubber-coated steel bullets during the clashes.

An Israeli army spokesperson said Israeli forces opened fire with .22 caliber bullets on "a violent riot of around 100 Palestinians" after calling on them to stop throwing stones.

She confirmed "hits" but said she did not know how many Palestinians had been shot.

There have been clashes in and around al-Bireh almost every day since protests swept the occupied Palestinian territory at the beginning of last month.
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