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Clashes erupt after caravan attempts to break Qabatiya closure

Feb. 6, 2016 4:36 P.M. (Updated: Feb. 6, 2016 9:39 P.M.)
JENIN (Ma'an) -- Clashes broke out when Palestinians from Jenin caravanned towards the nearby village of Qabatiya in the occupied West Bank in attempt to break a three-day blockade imposed on the village’s more than 20,000 residents.

The village was sealed by Israeli military forces after three residents carried out an attack in occupied East Jerusalem that left a 19-year-old Israeli police officer dead and another injured on Wednesday.

Dozens of Palestinian vehicles poured from the city of Jenin and Jenin refugee camp towards the village after Palestine Liberation Organization factions called for a march in protest of the closure.

Spokesperson of the PLO factions, Ali Zakarneh, told Ma’an that Israeli forces forcefully suppressed the march, firing tear gas bombs at vehicles attempting to enter Qabatiya from its northern side.

Palestinian parliament member Jamal al-Shati was injured by a rubber-coated steel bullet in the stomach and several others suffered from excessive tear gas inhalation and were taken to Jenin Governmental hospital for treatment, Zakarneh said.

Zakarneh added that new plans to break the military closure of the town were under way, without giving further details.

The Palestinian Civil Affairs department in Jenin said on Saturday evening that Israeli forces has lifted the siege on Qabatiya after three days.

Earlier on Saturday, Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah decried the closure as “collective punishment” imposed on Qabatiya residents.

“Ongoing Israeli policies of collective punishment, field executions, and blockading Palestinian cities, villages, and refugee camps will worsen the security situation in the area,” Hamdallah said, holding Israel responsible for ongoing deterioration of the situation in Qabatiya.

The three Palestinians who carried out the Jerusalem attack earlier this week were shot dead on the scene, and laid to rest in their hometown on Friday evening.

Their families meanwhile have received punitive demolition orders on their homes, and sporadic clashes have continued to break out between Israeli forces and youths in Qabatiya, leaving several injured and others detained.

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