9 Hurt at Naksa Day Rally

Nine Palestinians were struck by riot dispersal fire on Tuesday at a rally near the Ofer prison to mark the 45th anniversary of Israel’s occupation of the West Bank and Gaza.

The Naksa, meaning "setback," is marked every year on June 5. It commemorates the defeat of five Arab armies in a short war that ended with Israel in possession of significantly more territory.

At the Ofer protest, Israeli forces fired tear gas and stun grenades toward the protesters holding a sit-in and directed a foul-smelling liquid at journalists covering the event, a Ma’an correspondent said.

Clashes erupted as Palestinians threw stones and Israeli forces fired rubber-coated bullets during a two-hour clash. Nine Palestinians were struck by the riot-dispersal rounds, according to the reporter.

An Israeli military spokeswoman confirmed that forces used riot-dispersal means to disperse about 100 Palestinians, some of whom threw stones at soldiers in the same general area.

In Gaza City, hundreds of protesters marched from the Square of the Unknown Soldier to a UN building where they handed a letter to UN officials.

Demonstrators raised posters calling for national unity and the implementation of the right of Palestinian refugees to return to their lands, from which they were forcibly displaced.

Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri delivered a speech during the rally urging Palestinian factions to stick to resistance as "the only means to get rid of occupation and to secure the right of return."

A member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine leadership, Kayid al-Ghoul, urged the Palestinians to end disagreement and adopt a united policy based on struggle against occupation.

Fatah spokesman in the Gaza Strip Fayiz Abu Eitah also delivered a speech and urged the Palestinians to hold fast to the dream of statehood and to geographic unity.

In Jerusalem, several dozen protesters marched through the eastern half of the city captured by Israel in 1967. No major incidents were reported at the event, although police presence was heavy.

The Islamic-Christian Commission for the Support of Jerusalem and Holy Sites said in a statement that the Naksa was ongoing as residents were still being displaced, as homes were demolished and occupied by settlers.

(Ma’an)

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