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Israeli forces shoot tear gas, rubber bullets at protesters in Kafr Qaddum

July 14, 2017 6:10 P.M. (Updated: July 14, 2017 6:45 P.M.)
QALQILIYA (Ma’an) -- Israeli forces suppressed a weekly march on Friday held in the village of Kafr Qaddum in the northern occupied West Bank district of Qalqiliya, where they shot tear gas, rubber-coated steel bullets, and sound bombs at hundreds of protesters.

Hundreds of local Palestinians and foreign supporters marched from the village’s streets towards an Israeli-installed gate erected at the main road of the village, often closed by Israeli forces to control the movement of Palestinians in and out of Kafr Qaddum.

Israeli forces deployed at the gate fired tear gas canisters, rubber-coated steel bullets, and sound bombs at the protesters. However, no injuries were reported.

Popular resistance coordinator for the village Murad Shteiwi said that Israeli forces had also raided a park in the eastern part of the village and “turned it into a military zone” in order to suppress the protests, adding that “violent clashes” had erupted when Palestinians responded to Israeli forces by throwing rocks, bottles, and setting fire to rubber tires near the illegal Israeli settlement of Kedumim, which was built on Kafr Qaddum's lands.
Shteiwi stated that the Israeli army has “followed a policy of targeting children at the marches,” but said that the village would not stop with their popular resistance and the inclusion of Palestinians of all ages until they "have accomplished their goals.”

An Israeli army spokesperson told Ma’an she would look into reports of the clashes.

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 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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