BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) – Two young Palestinian men were hit by rubber-coated bullets and several others were hurt by tear gas during clashes with Israeli troops in Ayda refugee camp near Bethlehem Monday evening.
Locals in the camp told Ma’an that young men clashed with Israeli forces to express anger after the killing of three young Palestinian men in Qalandia refugee camp near Ramallah in the occupied West Bank. Israeli troops showered the protesters with tear gas and fired rubber-coated bullets injuring two people. Several residents were hurt by tear gas.
Israeli forces, stationed near the so-called seam zones in Bethlehem, rarely hesitate to shower a whole camp or town with very harmful type of tear gas, an eyewitness from al-Khader village said.
“We live in a densely-populated neighborhood very close to the bypass road known as route 60. Israeli troops never leave the area, and almost every day the neighborhood is showered with tear gas for no reason,” the man, who identified himself as Abed, added.
He said that soldiers deliberately target alleys and balconies claiming that local young men threw stones at them. “Two weeks ago, I and my wife were in bed early in the morning before we were panic-stricken by a blow on the window. It was tear gas, and fortunately it hit the bars and did not break through the window though the glass was open.”
Abed added that he quickly closed the glass and hurried to check on his children on the lower floor. “I couldn’t walk down the stairs because the whole staircase was clouded with tear gas.
“However, when I heard my children shouting for help, I and my wife ran to the lower floor and with help of my two sons we managed to pull my 14-year-old daughter to the upper floor. We were looking for fresh air, but that was impossible because the alley was showered by tear gas from all directions. I wanted to take her to a nearest hospital, but I couldn’t reach my car. We tried to put on the air conditioner, but it worsened the situation as it absorbed tear gas from outside. We all kept choking until we managed to get some fresh air.”
He added: “After I managed to step out, I saw a couple of elderly women choking in the street. Then I moved toward the main road to see what was going on. There were two Israeli military jeeps about 50 meters away from the nearest house, and I couldn’t see a single young man. In Ramadan, people usually go to sleep after dawn prayer (around 4 a.m.) and school children were on holiday so it’s natural to find streets completely empty even of passersby.”
Read more at the Live Blog: Israel assassinates three Palestinians in Qalandiya – Live Blog