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Elderly man wounded as Israeli forces suppress weekly protests

March 25, 2016 4:32 P.M. (Updated: March 27, 2016 6:44 P.M.)
QALQILIYA (Ma'an) -- A 68-year-old Palestinian man was hit in the head with a rubber-coated steel bullet and dozens more suffered excessive tear gas inhalation when Israeli forces suppressed weekly marches in the West Bank villages of Bilin and Kafr Qaddum, local activists said.

Activist Murad Shtewei told Ma'an that Israeli forces fired rubber-coated steel bullets, tear gas canisters, stun grenades, and skunk water on protesters as they marched in the village of Kafr Qaddum near Qalqiliya.

He said an elderly man, identified as Taysir Shtewei, 68, was hit in the head by a stray rubber-coated steel bullet while he was in his yard outside his home. The man's condition was not clear.

He said dozens of other activists suffered excessive tear gas inhalation during the protest, which he said was attended by "hundreds" of local, Israeli, and foreign activists.

Meanwhile, dozens more Palestinian activists suffered excessive tear gas inhalation in the village of Bilin, locals told Ma'an.

Israeli forces were reported to have stormed the western side of the village, firing tear gas canisters at protesters, who waved Palestinian and Algerian flags, and chanted slogans condemning "terrorism."

Local activist Abdullah Abu Rahmeh said: "Israeli terrorism is not different from any other terrorism across the world, as killing, destroying homes, confiscating lands and displacing Palestinians is a systematic policy that the Israeli occupation is carrying out every day."

Israeli forces regularly suppress weekly protests across the occupied West Bank.

Kafr Qaddum and Bilin are among the most active villages in organized opposition against the Israeli occupation and the confiscation of Palestinian land.

Last year marked the 10th consecutive year of weekly marches against the Israeli separation wall in Bilin, which was constructed on Palestinian land in 2005.

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