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Israeli forces shoot, injure 22 in West Bank clashes

Dec. 11, 2015 6:24 P.M. (Updated: Dec. 12, 2015 1:00 P.M.)
Palestinian protesters roll a burning tire during clashes with Israeli police in Shuafat, a neighborhood in East Jerusalem. (AFP/Ahmad Gharabli, File)
RAMALLAH (Ma'an) -- Israeli forces shot and injured 22 Palestinians during clashes in the occupied West Bank on Friday, local sources told Ma'an.

Sources said at least four Palestinians were injured with live fire and nine others were hit with rubber-coated steel bullets when clashes broke out in Silwad village east of Ramallah.

The clashes erupted after mid-day Friday prayers, when Israeli forces confronted protesters with rubber-coated and live bullets as well as tear gas, locals said.

Palestinians threw rocks and empty bottles at Israeli soldiers, locals added.

Clashes near Ofer detention center left one demonstrator injured by live fire and five others by rubber-coated steel bullets, while three were shot and injured by rubber-coated steel bullets in Nilin west of Ramallah.

In the Ramallah-district village of Bilin, Palestinian photographer Hamde Abu Rahma told Ma'an that he was injured by Israeli soldiers for the fourth week in a row.

Abu Rahma said that he was shot in his side body after an Israeli officer ordered soldiers in the area to fire on him directly.

In Bethlehem, four Palestinians were shot during clashes with Israeli forces at the northern entrance of the city, medics said.

Head of the ambulance and emergency department in Bethlehem, Muhammad Awad, said that three protesters were shot with live fire in their feet, while another was shot with a rubber-coated steel bullet.

Thirteen others were treated for severe tear gas inhalation, Awad added.

The injured were taken to Beit Jala Hospital for treatment, all in light to moderate condition, Awad added.

An Israeli army spokesperson told Ma’an that hundreds of Palestinians “violently rioted” in both Bethlehem and Silwad, throwing rocks and Molotov cocktails at Israeli forces.

In both incidents, Israeli forces “attempted to disperse the crowd with riot dispersal means,” later firing 0.22 caliber bullets at the “main instigators.”

Earlier, in the city of Ramallah, Israeli forces shot and injured five Palestinian during clashes that began between Palestinian youth and Israeli soldiers during a pre-dawn Israeli raid.

The clashes took place on a main thoroughfare where locals told Ma'an that Israeli forces raided a supply store, confiscating surveillance cameras.

An Israeli army spokesperson denied the use of live fire, saying Israeli forces entered Ramallah on "routine activity," and were met by dozens of Palestinians who "attacked forces by hurling rocks at them and blocking roads."

The spokesperson said Israeli forces "responded using riot dispersal means in order to prevent and escalation of violence." The spokesperson added that "hits were confirmed," but said no live fire was used during the incident.

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 attempted and actual attacks carried out by individual Palestinians on Israeli military and civilians, many of which have been disputed by rights groups.

At least 11,299 Palestinians were injured by Israeli forces between Oct. 1 and Nov. 30, the majority during demonstrations, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.

Around 182 Israelis were injured in individual Palestinian attacks during the same time period.
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