Occupation troops injure dozens of Palestinian protesters in West Bank


Zionist military forces have wounded dozens of people demonstrating across the occupied West Bank in solidarity with Palestinians prisoners on an open-ended hunger strike in Israeli jails.

The rallies were held on Friday in several localities in the occupied territories in support of some 1,600 Palestinian inmates who have joined a hunger strike, dubbed the Freedom and Dignity, which started on April 17 in protest at their conditions in Israeli prisons.

At least 28 demonstrators sustained injuries at the Beta junction near Nablus when Israeli troops fired tear gas, stun grenades and rubber bullets at the Palestinian protesters.

In the town of Beit Ummar, northwest of al-Khalil (Hebron), at least two protesters suffered gunshot wounds to their their legs, while a number of other Palestinians suffered from tear gas inhalation in Bab al-Zawiya area in central al-Khalil.

At least eight demonstrators were injured in the small central West Bank village of Nabi Salih. Five of the wounded were shot by live bullets and the rest were injured by rubber-coated bullets. Israeli troops had already closed the main road to the village, barring ambulances from reaching the area.

Israeli forces also suppressed a rally in the village of Nilin, where several demonstrators suffered breathing difficulties as a result of inhaling tear gas.

In Kafr Qaddum, a teenage demonstrator was hit by a tear gas canister to his head and another one was shot in the foot by a live bullet. Six other demonstrators suffered from tear gas inhalation in the northern West Bank town.

Clashes were also reported at the Qalandiya checkpoint, a main crossing point between Jerusalem al-Quds and Ramallah, but there has been no immediate report of possible casualties.

The mass hunger strike is led by 57-year-old Marwan Barghouti (pictured above), who is a top leader of the Palestinian Fatah movement. Barghouti, a highly popular figure among Palestinians, has been sentenced by an Israeli court to five life terms in jail over his role in a Palestinian Intifada (Uprising). He has been in Israeli prisons since 2002.

The hunger strikers are calling for immediate improvements in jail conditions, including longer family visits, proper medical attention, phone access, and an end to solitary confinement and administrative detention.

Meanwhile, the Israeli regime is reportedly preparing to coerce hundreds of the Palestinian hunger strikers to end their protest by force-feeding them.

The Israeli Health Ministry has ordered hospitals to get ready to receive hundreds of hunger strikers. The ministry said hospitals should force prisoners to take medicines or nutrients if they are in a life-threatening condition or risk permanent disabilities.

The occupied Palestinian territories have witnessed new tensions ever since Israeli forces imposed restrictions on the entry of Palestinian worshipers into the al-Aqsa Mosque compound in East Jerusalem al-Quds in August 2015.

More than 300 Palestinians have lost their lives at the hands of Israeli forces in the tensions since the beginning of October 2015.

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