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Dozens injured as Israeli forces clash with Palestinian youth

Dec. 4, 2015 7:39 P.M. (Updated: Dec. 5, 2015 12:34 P.M.)
Palestinian youths carry an injured demonstrator during clashes in Bethlehem on Oct. 6, 2015. (MaanImages/Emily Mulder)
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- Dozens of Palestinians were injured across the occupied Palestinian territory when clashes broke out between youths and Israeli forces during weekly Friday demonstrations.

Three were injured with live fire and six with rubber-coated steel bullets when clashes erupted nearby the Ofer detention center outside of Ramallah, locals said.

Locals told Ma’an that Israeli forces used Jeep-mounted tear gas launchers, and fired live and rubber-coated steel bullets at protesters.

Nearby, in al-Balou area in northern al-Bireh, locals told Ma’an that Palestinian security forces stopped a march from reaching the Beit El checkpoint.

Clashes also broke out with Israeli forces in Jabal al-Taweel neighborhood in eastern al-Bireh, where Israeli forces fired tear gas, live and rubber-coated bullets, and chased down Palestinians.

Four Palestinians were injured with sponge bullets -- sponge-tipped bullets intended to cause less damage than regular bullets -- during the weekly march in Bilin near Ramallah, locals told Ma’an.

One demonstrator was injured with a sponge bullet in the head and taken to the Palestine Medical Center for treatment, while the other three were treated on scene.

In the Qalqiliya-area village of Kafr Qaddum, residents as well as foreign and Israeli peace activists marched towards the neighboring Qadummim settlement before Israeli forces fired tear gas, stun grenades, and rubber-coated steel bullets at the demonstrators, locals said.

Coordinator of popular committee in the town, Murad Ishteiwi, said that Israeli snipers deployed throughout the village prior to and during the march.

Ishteiwi told Ma’an that a Palestinian Red Crescent vehicle had been directly targeted with a tear-gas canister during the demonstration.

In Abu Dis, a march set off to the home of Mazin Hasan Ureiba, who was shot dead near Hizma checkpoint after the Israeli army said he opened fire and injured two Israelis.

Hani Halabiya, a spokesperson for a popular committee in the town said that clashes broke out near Abu Dis University after the march.

Eight youths were shot by rubber-coated steel bullets, and dozens of other suffocated from tear gas inhalation, Halabiya said.

Muhammad Khanafsah,18, and Ismail Halabiya, were detained during the clashes, and two brothers of Ureiba were briefly detained for questioning, Halabiya added.

In the Gaza Strip, 11 Palestinians were taken to the Shuhada Al-Aqsa hospital after clashes broke out with Israeli forces east of al-Buriej refugee camp, the Ministry of Health spokesman, Asharf al-Qidra, told Ma'an.

The nature of their injuries were not confirmed.

A Ma’an reporter said that dozens of demonstrators marched near the security fence between the besieged enclave and Israel in support of Palestinian resistance in the West Bank.

Clashes also broke out near Nahal Oz crossing, and in al-Farajeen area east of Khan Yunis, where 31 others were injured, al-Qidra said.

An Israeli army spokesperson did not have immediate information on Friday's clashes.

Clashes between Palestinians and Israeli forces usually take place on Fridays, and the intensity and frequency of clashes was heightened over the past two months.

The clashes coincided with a series of alleged, actual, and attempted attacks carried out by individual Palestinians on Israeli military and civilians.

Twelve Palestinians have been killed in the past week alone, all but one of whom were shot during such attacks.

International rights groups have criticized Israel for excessive use of force -- amounting to to extrajudicial execution -- against Palestinians who don’t pose sufficient threat for such force at the time of their death.

The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs documented 11,299 Palestinians injured by Israeli forces during the months of October and November, the majority during clashes.

At least 182 Israelis were injured during the same time period, the majority in attacks carried out by Palestinians.
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