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Israeli forces injure scores of Palestinians during clashes across West Bank, Gaza

May 26, 2017 9:30 P.M. (Updated: May 29, 2017 6:27 P.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) -- Israeli forces suppressed demonstrations across the occupied West Bank and besieged Gaza Strip on Friday held in solidarity with some 1,300 Palestinians entering their 40th day on a mass hunger strike, injuring numerous Palestinians with live bullets, rubber-coated bullets, and tear gas.

Israeli forces are often condemned for their use of excessive force against unarmed Palestinian protesters, who are routinely met with live ammunition and “crowd control weapons” during protests and clashes. According to UN documentation, 3,393 Palestinians were injured by Israeli forces in 2016, while 781 injuries have been reported thus far in 2017.

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

Nablus district

In the northern West Bank, a Palestinian was injured with a live bullet in his shoulder, while 11 others suffered from tear gas inhalation during clashes that erupted with Israeli forces at the Beita junction in southern Nablus during a sit-in organized in solidarity with hunger-striking prisoners.

Head of the Palestinian Red Crescent emergency department Ahmad Jibril told Ma’an that 19-year-old Mustafa Salama was injured with a live bullet in his shoulder and was transferred to Rafidiya hospital for medical treatment where doctors described his injuries as moderate.

Jibril added that 11 Palestinians also suffered from tear gas inhalation when Israeli forces shot tear gas canisters and sound bombs at residents following Friday prayers when the sit-in was organized.

Israeli forces also detained Raed Rashad Hamayel, 37, during the demonstration and “violently assaulted him,” according to Jibril.

Qalqiliya district

A number of Palestinians were injured during clashes that erupted with Israeli forces at a checkpoint in southern Qalqiliya city in the northern West Bank.

The Palestinian Red Crescent said that two Palestinians were injured with rubber-coated bullets, two suffered from tear gas inhalation, while another Palestinian suffered from injuries after falling on the ground and hitting his head during clashes; he was transferred to Darwish Nazzal governmental hospital for treatment.

All other injuries were treated on the scene, according to the Red Crescent.

Meanwhile, in the village of Kafr Qaddum, several Palestinians were injured when Israeli forces suppressed the village’s weekly march.

Coordinator of the village’s popular resistance Murad Shteiwi said that Israeli forces attacked a march that was launched in solidarity with the hunger strikers and with the participation of hundreds of local Palestinians, and fired tear gas canisters and rubber-coated bullets at the demonstrators, causing an injury of a Palestinian during the clashes, while tens of others suffered from tear gas inhalation.

Shteiwi noted that all of the injured were treated on the scene.

Ramallah district

In the Ramallah-area village of Nabi Saleh in the central West Bank, Israeli forces shot and injured two Palestinians with live bullets, and one with rubber-coated bullets, while an Israeli female soldier was injured after a rock thrown by a Palestinian struck her in the face during clashes, according to witnesses.

Clashes erupted at the entrance of the village between Palestinian and Israeli forces during a march in the village. Israeli forces fired live bullets and rubber-coated bullets at Palestinians who responded by throwing rocks, witnesses reported.

Israeli forces also detained a foreign activist and closed the gate of the village’s entrance, as Palestinian youths climbed a hill opposite to the gate and began pelting rocks at the soldiers.

Meanwhile, the women of the village followed the Israeli soldiers and attempted to block them from opening fire at the youths by positioning their bodies in front of the soldiers, who then “violently beat them,” according to witnesses.

Hebron district

In the southern West Bank, local activist Muhammad Ayyad Awwad said that clashes erupted with Israeli forces in the al-Asida area of the Beit Ummar village during a demonstration to support the hunger strikers, with a number of Palestinians suffering from tear gas inhalation and Israeli forces hosing Palestinian houses in the area with wastewater.

Meanwhile, in the Bab al-Zawiya area of Hebron city, clashes erupted at the entrance of Shuhada street, which has been closed off to Palestinian residents for nearly two decades.

Palestinians threw rocks at Israeli forces stationed at the Shuhada street checkpoint, while Israeli forces fired tear gas and rubber-coated bullets at the Palestinian protesters, according to locals. No injuries were reported.

Israeli forces also detained an unidentified young Palestinian during the clashes.

Gaza

In Khan Yunis in the southern Gaza Strip clashes erupted along the eastern border with Israel during demonstrations in support of the hunger strikers. Three Palestinians were injured with live bullets in their feet during clashes with Israeli forces, according to locals, while Palestinians pelted rocks at Israeli forces stationed at the border.

Meanwhile, in the northern Gaza Strip a Palestinian was also injured with a live bullet in his foot, while 15 others suffered from tear gas inhalation, including six medics, during clashes with Israeli forces, according to witnesses. A Palestinian Red Crescent ambulance was also damaged by an Israeli tear gas canister.
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