QALQILIYA (Ma'an) -- Israeli forces injured three Palestinian youths with rubber-coated steel bullets and briefly detained a seven-year-old Palestinian on Friday during a weekly march in the village of Kafr Qaddum in the northern occupied West Bank district of Qalqiliya.
Popular resistance coordinator in the village Murad Shteiwi told Ma’an that Israeli forces detained seven-year-old Mumin Murad Shteiwi during the march and released him some time after.
Shteiwi said that the march was traveling toward the southern entrance of the village that was closed by Israeli forces 14 years ago. He added that the demonstrators were “surprised” to find 12 Israeli soldiers “hiding” in the area who “attacked” Mumin and took him into an Israeli military vehicle.
Shteiwi told Ma'an that Israeli forces were hidden at the entrance in order to “ambush” the demonstrators, and detain as many as possible.
Seven-year-old Mumin said that he felt “very scared” during the incident and screamed as masked Israeli soldiers dragged him from his neck, threw him on the ground, and began shooting and interrogating him, according to Shteiwi.
Shteiwi added that Israeli forces fired live ammunition and rubber-coated steel bullets at the demonstrators, causing the injury of three Palestinian youths.
An Israeli army spokesperson told Ma’an she would look into reports.
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 14 years, is the main route to the nearby city of Nablus, the nearest economic center.
Following similar clashes that broke earlier in the year, Shteiwi told Ma'an that more than 330 protests have been held over that period, during which time 84 protesters have been injured by live fire, including 12 children.
Some 120 others have been detained at protests and were subsequently held in Israeli custody for periods ranging between four and 24 months, Shteiwi said, adding that they have paid fines totaling some 25,000 shekels (approximately $6,488).
Over the course of five years, an elderly protester was killed after suffering from excessive tear gas inhalation, one youth lost his eyesight, and another his ability to speak, he added.