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Israeli forces storm Tuqu school, attack teachers with pepper spray

Feb. 26, 2017 5:17 P.M. (Updated: Feb. 27, 2017 10:24 A.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- Three Palestinian teachers suffered from pepper spray inflammation at the hands of Israeli forces, when the latter stormed a secondary school in the southern occupied West Bank village of Tuqu to remove posters commemorating 17-year-old Qusay Hassan al-Umour, who was shot dead by Israeli forces in the town in mid-January.

Israeli forces raided the school to remove photos of al-Umour which were posted to mark the 40 days since his killing.

Witnesses told Ma'an that teachers who tried to prevent soldiers from taking down the posters were assaulted and pepper sprayed in the face.

Adel al-Shaer, Murad Mufarrih, and Alaa Hmeid were treated on the scene for the inflammation caused by the pepper spray.

After Israeli troops stormed the school, clashes broke out in the town between Israeli soldiers and schoolchildren. Witnesses said Israeli soldiers chased the youth through the town's alleys and showered the area in tear gas. No injuries were reported.

An Israeli army spokesperson told Ma’an they were looking into the case.

Israeli military presence in Tuqu has escalated since al-Umour was shot dead during clashes in the town, when the Israeli army claimed that the teen had been the “main instigator” among Palestinian youth throwing stones at border police.

However, video footage showed forces running towards the teenager's motionless body moments after he was shot, as he was lying in a field at least 100 meters away from the road where the clashes were taking place.

Investigations by BADIL prompted the Palestinian NGO to brand the shooting as an “extrajudicial killing,” asserting that the teen “could not have presented a lethal threat to the well-protected Israeli border police from a distance of around 100 meters, and the use of live ammunition against him was therefore unjustified.”

Following the incident, at least seven Palestinian youth have been detained in Tuqu during overnight raids, while Israeli forces previously installed a military base at the western entrance to the town, periodically preventing residents from entering or leaving.

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