Israeli forces shut down anti-wall protests, fire at ambulance and child

RAMALLAH (Ma’an) — Israeli forces on Friday violently shut down protests against the separation wall in villages across the West Bank.

In Bil’in, in the central West Bank, 10-year-old Mohammed Iyad Burnat was injured when a tear-gas canister hit his leg. In 2009, a protester was killed at a weekly anti-wall protest in the village when Israeli forces fired a high-velocity tear-gas canister into his chest.

Dozens of Palestinians, international activists and Israelis raised Palestinian flags and marched to the separation barrier, which annexes 60 percent of the village’s land to build Jewish-only settlements.

Israeli forces fired tear gas, chemical water, sound grenades and rubber-coated steel bullets at protesters.

An Israeli military spokeswoman said protesters threw rocks at soldiers, who responded with “riot dispersal means.”

At a simultaneous protest in Al-Ma’sara, near Bethlehem, Israeli forces detained Hassan Ahmad Bareeja, 41, and an international activist.

An army spokeswoman said two protesters were detained and swiftly released.

Israeli soldiers fired tear gas and sound grenades to stop the demonstrators from reaching their land, protesters said.

Meanwhile, in Nil’in, protesters held Palestinian, Fatah and Hamas flags to show their support for the recently-announced national unity deal.

Israeli forces suppressed the demonstration, shooting tear-gas grenades toward protesters and firing live ammunition in the air, protest organizers said.

An Israeli army spokeswoman denied the use of live ammunition.

In An-Nabi Saleh, demonstrators said Israeli forces fired massive amounts of tear gas in confrontations which lasted several hours.

Soldiers fired sound grenades at an ambulance trying to reach a female protester who had fainted from the gas, witnesses said.

On Friday evening, soldiers surrounded a home in the village and fired tear gas and sound grenades at the building, activists said, adding that more than a dozen children were inside the home.

Israeli forces routinely use force to shut down anti-wall protests across the West Bank. Villages which hold weekly rallies have been targeted by night raids, organizers arrested and children detained, and protesters have been killed at several demonstrations.

Despite this, the non-violent movement has grown, and international and Israeli activists continue to join Palestinians to protest the wall’s annexation of Palestinian land.

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