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Israeli forces injure 6 Palestinians, Korean activist during protest in Kafr Qaddum

July 7, 2017 8:59 P.M. (Updated: July 8, 2017 4:10 P.M.)
QALQILIYA (Ma’an) -- Israeli forces injured six Palestinians and a Korean activist on Friday in the village of Kafr Qaddum in the northern occupied West Bank district of Qalqiliya during the village’s weekly march against the Israeli occupation.

Popular resistance coordinator Murad Shteiwi said that Israeli forces attacked protesters and fired tear gas canisters, sound bombs, and rubber-coated steel bullets into the crowd during the march, which, according to Shteiwi, marked the sixth year anniversary of the weekly protests organized by the village.

He said that six Palestinians had sustained injuries, one of whom was wounded in the head, and a female supporter from Korea was wounded with a rubber bullet.

Shteiwi added that all had been transferred to Rafidiya Hospital for medical treatment.

Shteiwi emphasized that after six years of organizing a march every Friday, residents of Kafr Qaddum were still determined to continue the protests until “all our goals are achieved.”

An Israeli army spokesperson told Ma’an that a “violent riot” had broken out in Kafr Qaddum, when some 100 Palestinians “rolled burning tires and threw rocks” at Israeli forces.

“In response to the immediate threat,” she added, Israeli army forces had “used crowd dispersal means” to suppress the “riot.”

However, several minutes later, the spokesperson told Ma’an that Israeli army forces were not actually present at the protest, and instead it was the Israeli border police. When asked how she had provided a statement on the protests if none of their forces were present, she said “we received reports on what happened on the ground, but none of our forces were there.”

An Israeli police spokesperson was not immediately available for comment.

Residents of Kafr Qaddum began staging weekly protests in 2011 against land confiscations, as well as the closure of the village's southern road by Israeli forces.

The road, which has been closed for 14 years, is the main route to the nearby city of Nablus, the nearest economic center.

The Israeli army blocked off the road after expanding the illegal Israeli settlement of Kedumim in 2003, forcing village residents to take a bypass road in order to travel to Nablus, which has extended the travel time to Nablus from 15 minutes to 40 minutes, according to Israeli rights group B’Tselem.

Hundreds of Palestinians have been detained during the demonstrations since their start in 2011, and at least one protester was killed, while 84 have been injured by live fire, including 12 children, Shteiwi told Ma'an during a similar protest last year.

Some 120 others have been detained at demonstrations and were subsequently held in Israeli custody for periods ranging between four and 24 months, Shteiwi said at the time, adding that they had paid fines totaling some 25,000 shekels (approximately $6,488).
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