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Israeli forces withdraw from devastated al-Fawwar, leaving Palestinian teen killed, 45 injured

Aug. 17, 2016 12:03 P.M. (Updated: Aug. 17, 2016 10:32 P.M.)
Palestinian youth after being treated for gun shot injuries
HEBRON (Ma'an) -- Israeli forces withdrew from al-Fawwar refugee camp overnight Tuesday after being deployed in the camp for nearly 24 hours, in a massive military onslaught which left a Palestinian teenager killed and 45 others injured by Israeli fire.

An Israeli army spokesperson confirmed to Ma’an that Israeli soldiers left the camp sometime overnight Tuesday after first raiding it around dawn, in an “operational activity to uncover weaponry” and search for wanted Palestinians. She added that no Israeli injuries were reported, with the exception of one Israeli soldier who was lightly injured by a thrown rock.

Large numbers of Israeli troops from three army units surrounded the camp around dawn on Tuesday, when they began ransacking homes, interrogating residents in the streets, and positioned snipers on the rooftops of Palestinian homes.

Local youth reacted to the forces' presence by throwing stones and Molotov cocktails, sparking clashes with the soldiers who fired live gunshots, tear gas, and rubber-coated steel bullets at the youth.

UN medical sources said that they opened a makeshift medical clinic in the camp to compensate for the shortage of medical supplies of the clinic in the camp, adding that "many injured Palestinians were seen lying in the streets.”

Witnesses told Ma’an that medics were prevented from accessing the site, and that Israeli soldiers stopped an ambulance belonging to the Palestinian Red Crescent which was trying to evacuate a seriously injured young man, preventing the ambulance from leaving the camp for an hour. It could not be confirmed whether the ambulance was carrying Abu Hashhash.

The Fatah movement in southern Hebron declared Wednesday a day of mourning for the teenager.
Muhammad Abu Hashhash, 17, died on Tuesday afternoon after being shot by Israeli forces with live ammunition in the heart.

General Director of the Hebron Governmental Hospital, Walid Zalloum, said that 38 other live fire injuries were treated at the hospital, mainly in the thighs and legs, and some in the arms.

General Director of the al-Ahli Hospital in Hebron, Youssef al-Takruri, said that five Palestinians were treated there -- four for gunshot injuries in the legs and one for a chest wound.

Medical sources also said that a wounded Palestinian was taken to the Rafidiya Governmental Hospital in Nablus for treatment for a leg wound, and another was taken to a Ramallah-area hospital after being injured with an explosive bullet in his left shoulder.
A Palestinian youth hospitalized for a live bullet injury to his leg after being shot by Israeli forces on Tuesday in al-Fawwar.
Palestinian youth after being treated for gun shot injuries.
According to Israeli newspaper Haaretz, the Israeli army only confirmed 23 injuries.

Several residents of the refugee camp said that Israeli soldiers stole money and gold while searching their houses, destroying their belongings, and taking pictures of some of the residents.

Head of the Palestinian Prisoner’s Society (PPS) in Hebron and a resident of al-Fawwar, Amjad al-Najjar, said that he and his 40-member family were locked inside a room in his house during the raid.

“Israeli soldiers searched and ransacked the house and left after four hours, which is when we realized they stole gold and money.”

At least three Palestinians were detained during the raid, including a father and son after Israeli forces claimed to have found a broken gun in the house.

The Israeli army said Tuesday that two pistols, a commando knife, stun grenades, and bullets were found during the raid.
Israeli soldiers gather in al-Fawwar during the day-long military operation on Tuesday.

Israeli soldiers deployed in al-Fawwar on Tuesday.

An Israeli army soldier takes a nap on Tuesday in al-Fawwar during the raid which lasted nearly 24 hours.

Israeli soldiers resting during a military raid in al-Fawwar on Tuesday that left a Palestinian teen killed and 45 others injured.

While Tuesday’s raid on al-Fawwar was particularly violent, Israeli raids in Palestinian towns, villages, and refugee camps are a daily occurrence in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, with a weekly average of 78 search and detention raids carried out since the start of 2016, according to UN documentation.

Due to the typically aggressive nature of the raids, clashes often erupt between local Palestinian youth who throw stones and are met in response with live fire and tear gas, often resulting in serious, sometimes fatal injuries.

Israeli police and soldiers have come under heavy criticism over the past year for what rights groups have referred to as “extrajudicial executions” and excessive use of force against Palestinians -- against youth and children in particular -- who did not pose an immediate threat or who could have been detained through non-lethal means.

Abu Hashhash was among 218 Palestinians to have been killed by Israelis since the beginning of a wave of unrest across the occupied Palestinian territory and Israel in October.

According to Ma'an documentation, at least 54 Palestinians were killed in clashes during this time period. While the majority of deadly clashes have occurred in refugee camps in the occupied Palestinian territory, this is the first reported death of an al-Fawwar resident since October.

Some 9,500 Palestinian refugees live in al-Fawwar inside a space of 0.27 square kilometers with an Israeli military watchtower situated at its entrance. The camp is located just a few kilometers away from the illegal Israeli settlement of Beit Hagai.

“As a consequence,” writes the UN agency for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA) in their profile of the camp, “protection issues are a major concern for camp residents,” adding that incursions, camp closures, and clashes between young camp residents and Israeli forces have recently increased.

In addition, Israeli forces regularly close the camp’s main entrance for hours on end, which has had “a particular impact on younger children, many of whom experience emotional and behavioral difficulties,” according to UNRWA.

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