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11 Palestinians injured with live fire after clashes erupt near Birzeit University in Ramallah

July 15, 2016 10:32 A.M. (Updated: July 18, 2016 8:00 P.M.)
RAMALLAH (Ma'an) -- At least 11 Palestinian youths were injured Thursday night in the central occupied West Bank district of Ramallah, after Israeli undercover forces and soldiers opened live fire during a raid that detained a former member of the Hamas-affiliated Islamic bloc student group, sparking clashes near Birzeit University, according to Palestinian and Israeli sources.

Palestinians youths were injured with live bullets during a raid in the village of al-Mazraa al-Gharbiyeh in northern Ramallah city, as Israeli undercover forces detained a Palestinian youth identified by locals as Tareq Rabie, a former coordinator of the Islamic bloc at Birzeit University-- a Hamas-affiliated group making up the majority in the university’s student council.

An Israeli army spokesperson told Ma’an that an alleged Hamas operative was detained in Ramallah during a raid on the al-Mazraa al-Gharbiyeh village.

The Palestinian Red Crescent reported that its teams transferred 11 injured Palestinians to hospitals in Ramallah, while the Palestinian Ministry of Health told Ma’an nine live fire injuries arrived to the Palestine Medical Center, adding that almost all of the injuries were in the extremities, with the exception of one Palestinian who was struck with a live bullet in the stomach.

Clashes erupted between youths and Israeli forces, as Israeli forces opened heavy live fire on the community before implementing a closure on the village and the area surrounding Birzeit University. An Israeli army spokesperson told Ma’an she would look into reports on whether the closure was still being enforced.

Dozens of Birzeit University students arrived to the university premises following the detention of Rabie and reportedly threw rocks and empty bottles at Israeli soldiers deployed at the entrance, as Israeli forces opened live fire at them, according to locals.

An Israeli army spokesperson confirmed that Israeli forces opened live fire at Palestinians that were throwing Molotov cocktails and stones at Israeli forces near the area of Birzeit University.

Birzeit University has been the focus of an Israeli military crackdown in recent months as a wave of violence spread throughout the Palestinian territory and Israel in October, and compounded by the Islamic bloc’s victories in Birzeit student elections for the past two consecutive years.

At the start of 2016, Israeli military forces raided Birzeit, destroying and confiscating university equipment, while detaining more than 80 students since October. Rights groups have widely condemned the concerted detention of Islamic bloc members at the university since their initial victory in 2015.

The Hamas movement is deemed illegal by the Israeli government -- along with the majority of Palestinian political factions and movements -- making students involved with the Islamic bloc at Birzeit increasingly vulnerable to raids and arbitrary detentions by Israeli forces.

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