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Israeli forces shoot 20 Palestinians in West Bank clashes

Dec. 12, 2015 7:30 P.M. (Updated: Dec. 13, 2015 3:47 P.M.)
A Palestinian demonstrator is carried away from clashes in Bethlehem on Oct. 6, 2015. (MaanImages/Emily Mulder, File)
RAMALLAH (Ma'an) -- Israeli forces shot and injured 20 Palestinians during demonstrations held in the occupied Palestinian territory on Saturday, locals and medics said.

In the northern al-Bireh area of Ramallah, three Palestinians were hit by live fire and 16 by rubber-coated steel bullets when clashes erupted between Palestinian youth and Israeli forces.

Locals told Ma’an that university students had organized a peaceful march which came under heavy Israeli fire when demonstrators approached the northern entrance of al-Bireh.

Separately, in the Qalqiliya district town of Kafr Qaddum, Israeli forces shot and injured a 17-year-old Palestinian in the thigh.

A coordinator of a popular committee in the town, Murad Ishteiwi, said that several Israeli snipers had deployed across the area, “shooting at anyone who moved.”

The teen was identified as Raed Hussam, who was taken to the Rafidiya Hospital for treatment.

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

Ishteiwi called upon human rights and international institutions to intervene in order to limit the excessive use of force by Israeli forces during demonstrations.

Recent calls by Palestinian leadership for international protection from Israeli forces have yet to come to fruition, and well over 11,000 Palestinians have been injured by Israeli forces since Oct. 1.

Israeli forces also suppressed on Saturday a sit-in protesting the closure of the eastern entrance of the Abud village northwest of Ramallah for the second week in a row.

Locals told Ma'an that Israeli forces initially sealed the entrance on Dec. 4 when a village resident, Abed al-Rahman Barghouthi, was killed after the Israeli army said he stabbed an Israeli soldier.

The closure has forced residents of Abud -- home to some 3,000 Palestinians, many of whom are Christians -- to travel on dangerous roads in order to move in and out of the isolated town.

Head of the village council, Youssef Masaa, told Ma’an Saturday that the closure by Israeli forces has turned the village into a “massive prison.”

Masaa said that the closures have “increased the suffering” of students and workers of the village who have been forced to take long routes to their universities and workplaces.

Such closures have become commonplace since a wave of unrest beginning in October shook the occupied Palestinian territory and has continued into December.

The Hebron district came under repeated lock down last month, and the Tulkarem area on Saturday entered its third day of Israeli blockade.

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