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Palestinian shot dead in Israeli raid on Qalandiya refugee camp

March 1, 2016 9:31 A.M. (Updated: March 1, 2016 1:17 P.M.)
RAMALLAH (Ma’an) -- Israeli forces shot and killed a Palestinian and injured 12 others overnight Monday during fierce clashes that broke out when the military raided Qalandiya refugee camp in the occupied West Bank to extricate two soldiers.

The Palestinian Red Crescent identified the victim as 22-year-old Iyad Omar Sajadiyya, a journalism student at al-Quds University in Abu Dis. He was shot in the head.

Red Crescent officials told Ma’an that ambulances evacuated 12 other young men for medical treatment, four of whom were shot with live ammunition and six by rubber-coated steel bullets. Two young men were also hit with high velocity tear gas canisters.

Qalandiya residents told Ma’an that large numbers of Israeli soldiers were sent to the camp to “rescue a group of undercover [Israeli] officers” who had entered through an alley near the camp’s cemetery.

While locals referred to "undercover forces," an Israeli army spokesperson told Ma’an that “a mob attacked a military vehicle in Qalandiya refugee camp,” which was set ablaze after rocks and Molotov cocktails were thrown at it.

Two soldiers inside the military vehicle at the time escaped by foot, at which point the Israeli army launched a search to extract the soldiers, the spokesperson said.

“Riots erupted” between residents and military forces carrying out the search and continued after the two soldiers were located, the spokesperson added. Israeli military forces opened fire on residents during the “riots,” the spokesperson said, confirming hits.

According to locals, Palestinian gunmen held the soldiers for three hours before they were evacuated by an Israeli military helicopter.

Locals confirmed fierce clashes that broke out between Palestinian gunmen and Israeli soldiers while others threw rocks and Molotov cocktails.

Qalandiya camp residents reported helicopters and bulldozers in the vicinity during the search, adding that a home in the camp belonging to the al-Salayma family caught fire after being hit by gunfire and tear gas canisters.

Israeli media reported that initial investigations revealed an Israeli army driver and a squad commander from a special forces unit were en route to the Beit El military base when they mistakenly entered the refugee camp following the direction of the "Waze" navigation application for smartphones.

At least ten members of the Israeli forces, including five soldiers and five border police, were injured during the incursion into Qalandiya, according to Israeli media reports.

Tensions between Israeli military forces and residents of Qalandiya refugee camp have been heightened in recent months, with at least 10 residents of the camp killed by Israeli forces since October, around half of whom were shot dead while attempting or carrying out attacks.

The remaining were killed during Israeli army raids on the refugee camp.

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