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Paramedic injured after gunman fires at Palestinian ambulance in Balata

Aug. 27, 2017 1:29 P.M. (Updated: Aug. 27, 2017 4:20 P.M.)
NABLUS (Ma'an) -- An unidentified gunman opened fire at a Palestinian Red Crescent ambulance in Balata refugee camp in the northern occupied West Bank city of Nablus, which left a paramedic injured.

Fawwaz al-Beitar, the acting director of the Red Crescent ambulance service in Nablus, told Ma'an that an ambulance was sent to Balata at 2 a.m. after a the humanitarian organization received a phone call from a patient who needed urgent medical treatment.

As the ambulance arrived, a gunman appeared at the scene and started to fire at the ambulance, injuring 37-year-old paramedic Mahmoud al-Karmi with shrapnel in his hand and shoulder.

Al-Beitar maintained that that the Palestinian Authority (PA) should provide protection for medical teams who provide humanitarian services.

Balata refugee camp is often the site of violent clashes between armed locals fighting off raids from both Palestinian and Israeli forces, as the camp has long been one the main targets of security crackdowns aiming to seize weapons and detain wanted fugitives.

Palestinians have pointed out that the PA has long neglected the camp, which has claimed that the camp's maintenance, including law enforcement, was the responsibility of UNRWA. According to Defense for Children International -- Palestine, the PA's neglect of the camp coupled with soaring unemployment rates created the space for some residents to become heavily involved in the illegal weapons trade.

The camp was established by the United Nations in 1950 to provide housing and services to refugees resulting from the establishment of the state of Israel in 1948, which forced some 750,000 Palestinians to flee their homes.
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