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Israeli forces injure 5 Palestinians in protest near Ramallah

March 8, 2019 2:23 P.M. (Updated: March 9, 2019 10:09 A.M.)
RAMALLAH (Ma'an) -- Five Palestinians were shot and injured, including a critical injury, during clashes between Israeli forces and Palestinian youths in Beit Sira village, west of the central occupied West Bank district of Ramallah.

According to local sources, Israeli forces injured five Palestinians as they attempted to suppress a Palestinian protest, which demanded the release of the bodies of two killed Palestinians, whose bodies have been withheld by Israeli authorities.

Two Palestinians Amir Mahmoud Jumaa Darraj, 20, and Youssef Raed Mahmoud Anqawi, 20, were shot and killed by Israeli forces after their vehicle hit the soldiers’ military vehicle. In addition, a third youth, who was injured, was identified as Haitham Bassem Jumaa Alqam, 20.

Sources confirmed that Israeli forces fired live ammunition, rubber-coated steel bullets, tear-gas bombs, and sound grenades towards Palestinian protesters, causing clashes to erupt.

Palestinian protesters showered Israeli forces with rocks.

Israel dramatically increased its policy of withholding bodies since the beginning of a wave of unrest across the occupied Palestinian territory in October 2015, although it has scaled back on the policy in recent months.

Human rights organizations have widely condemned the policy of withholding bodies, with prisoners' rights group Addameer calling it a form of "collective punishment" against Palestinians who had not been accused of any wrongdoing, also noting that it "adds to the severe grief and trauma of families of the deceased."

Palestinians say that the Israeli authorities uses this policy as a punishment to the families of those slain Palestinians by preventing their burial in a proper manner and to use them as a bargaining chip in possible future prisoners exchange deals.

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