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Israeli forces injure dozens of Palestinians in Friday protests

May 6, 2016 6:01 P.M. (Updated: June 3, 2016 7:33 P.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- Israeli forces injured dozens of Palestinians during weekly Friday protests in the occupied West Bank villages of Kafr Qaddum and Bilin, as well as in the Gaza Strip.

Three Palestinians, including two journalists, were injured on Friday as Israeli forces dispersed the weekly protest in Kafr Qaddum in the northern West Bank district of Qalqiliya.

Coordinator for popular resistance in the village Murad Shtewei said dozens of Israeli soldiers raided the village firing rubber-coated steel bullets, sponge rounds, tear gas canisters, and stun grenades.

Akif Jumaa, 55, was injured by a sponge round fired at his wrist. He was taken to Rafidia hospital for treatment.

Reporter for the Palestinian news station Palestine TV Ahmad Shawir was injured with rubber-coated steel bullets fired by Israeli forces at his hand and foot, while the photojournalist Muthanna al-Deek was injured with a rubber bullet fired at his foot. They were treated on the scene.

In the central West Bank village of Bilin, dozens suffered from tear gas inhalation as Israeli forces dispersed the weekly protest there.

Israeli forces fired tear gas canisters and rubber-coated steel bullets at protesters at the western entrance to the village, causing a fire to erupt on land belonging to Awad Yasin in the Khallat al-Ful area.

Participants in the protest raised Palestinian flags and roamed the village chanting songs for national unity and resistance. They called for the release of all prisoners, including journalist Omar Nazzal and hunger striking prisoners.

A Palestinian was also shot and injured when clashes broke out with Israeli forces near the al-Mintar (Karni) crossing in the eastern Gaza Strip, medical sources told Ma'an.

Clashes also broke out with Israeli forces deployed at the Beit Hanun (Erez) crossing in northern Gaza Strip.

An Israeli army spokesperson said they were looking into reports on the incidents.

Palestinians in the Gaza Strip crowd near the borders with Israel every Friday to show solidarity with what Palestinians in besieged coastal enclave have termed the “Jerusalem Intifada” taking place in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem.

Residents of Kafr Qaddum and Bilin are among many in Palestinian communities in the occupied West Bank that carry out weekly Friday demonstrations in opposition to the decades-long Israeli military occupation.

More than 1,300 Palestinians have been injured by Israeli forces since the start of this year, the majority during clashes that broke out with the Israeli military during protests in the occupied West Bank, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.

In April, the US accused Israel of "excessive use of force" against Palestinians, amounting to a violation of human rights, in its annual report of global human rights abuses.

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