18 Palestinians Injured in West Bank Clashes

Israeli troops arrest a Palestinian youth near Qalandiya. (Tamar Fleishman, PC)

At least 18 Palestinians were injured on Tuesday as Israeli forces suppressed demonstrations across the occupied West Bank in support of the Al-Aqsa Mosque.

Twelve Palestinians were injured as Israeli forces suppressed a protest near Ramallah, with three demonstrators reportedly injured by live fire.

Demonstrators had marched from the center of Ramallah to the illegal Israeli settlement of Beit El north of el-Bireh to protest ongoing violations and clashes at the Jerusalem holy site.

Israeli forces fired tear gas, water canons, live fire, and rubber-coated steel bullets at the demonstrators.

Dozens suffered tear gas inhalation, including journalists who were covering the demonstration.

PLO Executive Committee member Wasil Abu Yousef urged the international community to stop Israeli restrictions and violations at Al-Aqsa, as a general strike across the occupied West Bank saw stores close for two hours in solidarity with the holy site.

Amin Shouman, head of a Palestinian prisoners’ committee, said popular mobilization will continue in support of the Al-Aqsa Mosque and Palestinians jailed by Israel.

An Israeli army spokeswoman said around 300 Palestinians marched near Beit El, with Israeli forces using riot dispersal means before firing rubber-coated bullets at the “main instigators.”

She confirmed seven Palestinians were hit.

In Bethlehem, dozens of youths suffered tear gas inhalation as Israeli forces suppressed a protest near Aida refugee camp, while in the nearby village of Tuqu, dozens of schoolchildren suffered from tear gas inhalation after Israeli forces opened fire at a demonstration in support of al-Aqsa.

Clashes were also reported in Tulkarem as Israeli forces fired tear gas at demonstrators marching in solidarity with the Al-Aqsa Mosque.

The demonstrations followed sporadic clashes between Israeli security forces and Palestinians in Jerusalem’s Old City, with tensions heightened as Jews celebrated the Sukkot holiday.

Israeli forces on Tuesday denied Palestinians entry to the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound for the third straight day, while dozens of Jews entered the site in celebration of the Jewish holiday.

A series of Jewish religious holidays, including the eight-day Sukkot festival that began on Sunday evening, have seen large numbers of Jewish worshipers visit the flashpoint compound.

At least 22 Palestinians were injured on Monday during clashes at the holy site, with further clashes expected during the coming days.

Palestinians have expressed fears that Israel is seeking to change rules governing the site, with far-right Jewish groups pushing for more access to the compound and even efforts by fringe organizations to erect a new temple.

(Ma’an)

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