BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — At least seven Palestinians have been detained, while several others have been wounded with live fire during clashes in the occupied West Bank districts of Bethlehem and Ramallah, and in the Gaza Strip on Friday.
Palestinians across the West Bank have launched several marches and protests in recent days in solidarity with some 1,300 hunger-striking Palestinian prisoners
, who entered their 33rd day of a mass strike on Friday.
Tens of Palestinians were injured during clashes
with Israeli forces in several districts of the West Bank Thursday, with many injured by live ammunition.
An Israeli army spokesperson told Ma’an regarding protests in the West Bank that earlier today “a number of violent riots took place in Judea and Samaria,” using the Israeli term for the West Bank, when “hundreds of Palestinians lit tires on fire, threw firebombs and rocks” at Israeli forces. She added that Israeli forces responded with “crowd control means in order to disperse the riots.”
She could not confirm to Ma’an that Israeli forces had used live ammunition on the Palestinian protesters.
Witnesses told Ma’an that Israeli forces disguised as Palestinian protesters “kidnapped” six Palestinian “youths” at gunpoint after infiltrating a crowd of protesters during clashes that erupted at the northern entrance of Bethlehem city.
Palestinian security sources confirmed the reports, adding that the identities of the six detained Palestinians remained unknown.
Sources added that Israeli forces fired tear-gas canisters and sound bombs at Palestinian protesters, causing many to suffer from severe tear gas inhalation.
At least seven Palestinians were injured with live fire and rubber-coated steel bullets during clashes that erupted in the villages of Nilin and Aboud, as well as the Qalandiya military checkpoint in the central occupied West Bank Ramallah area.
In the Aboud village, several Palestinian youths were injured with live bullets during clashes that erupted at the entrance of the village following a march that was organized in solidarity with hunger-striking Palestinian prisoners.
The crowd of protesters, which consisted of residents of Aboud as well as Palestinians from at least 10 other northern-Ramallah villages, marched from the village’s mosque and headed to the entrance of the village, where armed Israeli forces were deployed.
Israeli forces fired live ammunition, tear gas canisters, sound bombs, and rubber-coated steel bullets at protesters, as five Palestinians were injured with live ammunition to the lower part of the body and one protester was injured with a rubber bullet in the leg, according to the Palestinian Red Crescent. A Palestinian infant was also reported to be in a “serious health condition” after inhaling tear gas shot by Israeli forces, the Red Crescent added.
Protesters responded by throwing rocks at Israeli soldiers, who closed the entrance to the village and prevented people from passing in or out.
At the Qalandiya military checkpoint — which was the site of violent clashes Thursday night — two Palestinians were injured, one of them in his mouth, with rubber-coated steel bullets in clashes that erupted following a solidarity march that set off from the Qalandiya refugee camp.
Israeli forces, stationed behind large cement by cement blocks, fired rubber-coated steel bullets, tear gas canisters and sound bombs at Palestinians who threw rocks and empty bottles at the soldiers.
In the village of Nilin, three Palestinians were injured with rubber-coated bullets, while others suffered from severe tear gas inhalation during clashes that erupted at the main entrance of the village, following a march in support of hunger strikers.
Nilin locals gathered at an Israeli bypass road near Nilin and closed it entirely to Israeli settler vehicles, causing a traffic jam.
Israeli soldiers chased the Palestinians back into the village, heavily firing rubber-coated steel bullets at protesters and Palestinian journalists covering the clashes.
One Palestinian protester was detained after Israeli forces violently assaulted him.
An Israeli army spokesperson said she was looking into reports of all the clashes.
In the northern West Bank district of Nablus, clashes erupted during solidarity protests in the villages of Beita — the hometown of 23-year-old Muataz Bani Shamsa
, who was shot dead by an Israeli settler Thursday– and Beit Dajan.
Spokesperson of the Palestinian Red Crescent in Nablus Ahmad Jibreel told Ma’an that a Palestinian was injured with live fire in his thigh, and three others were injured with rubber-coated steel bullets, while more than 40 suffered from tear gas inhalation during clashes in Beita.
Jibreel said that the Palestinian injured with live fire was in moderate condition and was being transferred to the Rafidiya Governmental Hospital in Nablus city.
Israeli forces banned medical crews of the Red Crescent from passing through the nearby Huwwara military checkpoint south of Nablus, Jibreel said.
In the village of Beit Dajan, Jibreel reported that six Palestinians suffered from severe tear gas inhalation during clashes, where Jibreel said Israeli forces deliberately targeted Red Crescent crews with their fire.
Witnesses in the area told Ma’an that Israelis settlers threw rocks at Palestinian vehicles passing the Yitzhar settlement road south of Nablus, while Israeli forces closed the Beita junction with cement blocks, as well as the Yitzhar road, and the Huwwara and Zaatara checkpoints.
In the district of Qalqiliya, Israeli forces suppressed a march in the village of Kafr Qaddum held in solidarity with the hunger strikers, injuring several Palestinians with rubber-coated bullets, including two who locals reported to be children.
According to the popular resistance coordinator of the village Murad Shteiwi, the march was expected to be launched following Friday prayers. However, Israeli forces raided the village and deployed themselves around Omar al-Khatab mosque while residents were performing prayers in an attempt to block the march from starting.
Following prayers, Shteiwi said that clashes erupted with Israeli forces, who fired tear gas, sound bombs, and rubber bullets at Palestinians, causing injuries to nine Palestinians, and two “children,” he said and damaging five cars owned by residents of the village.
He added that despite Israeli attempts at preventing the march, it was still lauched with the participation of hundreds of Palestinians.
Two Palestinian youths were injured with live bullets, fired by Israeli forces during clashes that erupted near the Nahel Oz Israeli military site along the border of the central Gaza Strip.
Israeli forces fired live fire and tear gas at Palestinians who were protesting in solidarity with hunger-striking prisoners and against the near-decade long Israeli siege imposed on the small coastal enclave.
In the Jabaliya refugee camp in northern Gaza, two Palestinians were injured with live fire near al-Shuhada cemetary, as Israeli forces fired tear gas at protesters and ambulances.
Protests have also sprung up in Khan Yunis, the Bureij refugee camp, and near the northern border of the Beit Lahiya town.
An Israeli army spokesperson told Ma’an that “hundreds of Palestinians began a number of violent riot across the Gaza Strip. Rioters are currently igniting fires and hurling rocks; Israeli army forces are using crowd control means, including firing warning shots into the air and towards main perpetrators.”
The spokesperson added that they were aware of reports that two Palestinians were injured, though she did not specify the location where the two were injured.