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Dozens suffer tear gas inhalation, 5 vehicles confiscated in Bilin raid

June 16, 2016 12:02 P.M. (Updated: June 16, 2016 4:49 P.M.)
RAMALLAH (Ma'an) -- Dozens of residents of Bilin suffered from severe tear gas inhalation early Thursday, after Israeli forces raided the Ramallah-area village and confiscated vehicles, sparking clashes with local youth.

Israeli forces targeted the western neighborhood of the village, firing rubber-coated steel bullets, stun grenades, and tear gas canisters, afflicting elderly locals, children, and women with tear gas suffocation.

Locals threw rocks at Israeli soldiers as clashes erupted, lasting for more than an hour, witnesses said.

Israeli forces confiscated five vehicles belonging to photojournalist Haitham al-Khatib, Laith Yassin, Abed al-Hamid Samara, Mujahed Birnat, and Muwaffaq al-Khatib, sources said.

No arrests were reported by locals, though an Israeli army spokesperson told Ma’an that two Palestinians had been detained overnight in the Ramallah area for being suspected “Hamas operatives.”

The raid came as Israeli forces also targeted the Bethlehem district Aida refugee camp overnight, during which two youths were injured and two others were detained.

Israeli forces have come under repeated criticism for excessive use of force as well as lethal methods of crowd control that often result in death or injury of protesters.

Bilin has long been one of the most active villages in organized opposition against Israeli policies, this year marking the eleventh consecutive year of weekly marches against expanding nearby settlements and the separation wall which separates residents from their private land.

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