Thousands rally on anniversary of Hebron shooting attack

MAAN FEB 24 2012

HEBRON (Ma’an) — Thousands of Palestinians rallied in the southern West Bank city of Hebron on Friday, commemorating the anniversary of a deadly shooting in Hebron’s revered mosque.

The protesters, marching from the Wasaya Rasul Allah mosque in southern Hebron, demanded the city’s main thoroughfare be reopened after Israeli forces shut it off shortly after extremist settler Baruch Goldstein killed 29 Palestinians at prayer.

Israeli forces deployed throughout the city in advance to prevent the demonstrations, an Israeli army spokesman said.

Soldiers detained six Palestinians from the march, including coordinator of Youth Against Settlements Badie Al-Dweik, 39, and Palestinian activist Fadi Quran.

Forces fired tear gas, sound grenades and foul-smelling chemicals at the demonstrators calling for the opening of Shuhada street, a Ma’an correspondent said.

Approximately 70 Palestinians, including a paramedic, suffered suffocation from the chemicals, medics in the city’s Muhammad Alo Al-Muhtaseb hospital said.

An Israeli army spokesman said two firebombs were thrown at forces, and a tire set alight at “two violent, illegal demonstrations.”

A 1997 agreement split Hebron into areas of Palestinian and Israeli control.

The Israeli military-controlled H2 zone includes the ancient Old City, home of the revered Ibrahimi Mosque — also split into a synagogue referred to as the Tomb of the Patriarchs — and the once thriving Shuhada street, now just shuttered shops fronts and closed homes.

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