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Palestinians close road in Tulkarem in solidarity with hunger-striking prisoners

May 17, 2017 11:08 A.M. (Updated: May 17, 2017 1:35 P.M.)
TULKAREM (Ma'an) -- Palestinians used burning tires to close a main road in the northern occupied West Bank district of Tulkarem overnight Tuesday, as activists have continued to blockade commuter thoroughfares across the West Bank in recent days in solidarity with a mass hunger strike underway in Israeli prisons.

Protests have been staged daily since the strike began on April 17, in solidarity with the Palestinian prisoners who are calling for an end to solitary confinement, medical negligence, the denial of family and lawyer visitations, and internment without charge or trial under administrative detention.

Palestinian security sources told Ma’an that dozens of Palestinian youths set fire to rubber tires and blockaded Nablus street near Nur Shams refugee camp in eastern Tulkarem.

Activist Omar Qazmuz told Ma’an that the youths also gathered in the town’s sit-in tent erected to support the hunger strike, demanding that Palestinian leadership immediately intervene to save the hunger strikers’ lives and pressure Israel to respond to their demands.

Qazmuz said that Nablus street was completely closed for more than half an hour before one lane was opened for vehicles to pass through, in time to allow for the return of Taha al-Irani, head of the Nur Shams refugee camp services center, who was released from Israeli prison after being detained last Friday.

Meanwhile, official Palestinian news agency Wafa reported that shops in the city of Tulkarem were closed as part of a one-day commercial strike on Wednesday in solidarity with hunger-striking prisoners.

Activists also closed off a number of other roads in villages around Ramallah in the central occupied West Bank on Wednesday morning.

After Palestinian forces arrived to reopen the Birzeit-Ramallah road, activists clashes with police, locals said. A similar incident occurred on Monday when Palestinian forces clashed with local activists who blockaded a road in Anabta in the northern occupied West Bank district of Tulkarem.

Meanwhile, after a group of Palestinians closed off Route 60 near the town of Silwad east of Ramallah, who were also reportedly throwing stones at passing Israeli vehicles, an Israeli settler got out of his car and shot one of the Palestinians, 19-year-old Ibrahim Rasem Hamed.

Hamed was reportedly moderately wounded, and then detained by Israeli soldiers who took him to an Israeli hospital.
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