Six Palestinians were killed on Friday as protests erupted across the West Bank in solidarity with the Gaza Strip, which has been under Israeli assault for the last 18 days.
The deaths come after a Palestinian was killed by Israeli forces late Thursday in clashes at Qalandia, bringing the total death toll in the West Bank to nine Palestinians slain in the last three days as they participated in demonstrations.
Large protests were held in Huwwara, Beit Ummar, Hebron, Halhul, Bilin, Ramallah, Tuqu, al-Arrub, and in Jerusalem.
The Palestinians slain during the protests were identified as Khaled Azmi Khaled Yousef, 18, Hashem Abu Maria, 47, Tayeb Abu Shehada, 22, Sultan al-Zaaqiq, 30, Abd al-Hamid Breigheth, 35, and Eid Fadhelat, 32.
Israeli forces shot and killed Eid Abd al-Kadir Fadhelat, 28, just before sunset in al-Arrub refugee camp north of Hebron on Friday evening.
Red Crescent coordinator Mohammad Khamis Badawi said that Fadhelat was shot with several bullets in the chest and shoulder, and was taken to a hospital in Hebron but died before reaching the emergency room.
Badawi added that four others were injured with live bullets, and 22 with rubber-coated bullets in clashes that broke out after a demonstration in solidarity with Gaza.
An Israeli military spokeswoman said that several Palestinians “hurled rocks at soldiers” in the area and that one “attacked” a soldier and “attempted to snatch his weapon.” The soldier subsequently shot and killed him.
In Beit Ummar, Palestinians clashed with Israeli soldiers in protest of Israel’s assault on Gaza.
Organizers from the Palestine Solidarity Project said that approximately 900 people attended the protest and that Israeli forces opened fire with live ammunition.
Hashem Abu Maria, 47, was shot in the chest and died soon after. Organizers said that Abu Maria worked with Defense of Children International-Palestine and was shot approximately 30 minutes into the demonstration.
Sultan al-Zaaqiq, 30, was also slain by Israeli forces during the clashes.
Additionally, Abd al-Hamid Breigheth, 35, was shot in the chest by Israeli forces and died of his wounds.
Organizers said that the three will be buried today in the cemetery in Beit Ummar, which is also by the Israeli military watchtower.
An Israeli military spokeswoman said that there was a “riot of dozens of Palestinians” that was “contained” by Israeli forces.
She added that reports of the three deaths were “being reviewed.”
Two Palestinians were killed in the village of Huwwara near Nablus on Friday after both Israeli settlers and soldiers opened fire on demonstrators.
Khaled Azmi Khaled Yousef, 18, was killed, and three were injured on Friday when an Israeli settler drove by and opened fire at a protest march, the village mayor said.
Khalid Mari Khalid Yousef, 18, died after being hit directly in the chest, a Ma’an reporter said.
Israeli forces who subsequently arrived on the scene got involved in the clashes, killing another Palestinian named Tayeb Abu Shehada, 22.
Nijm identified the other three injured as Tariq Issam, Muhammad Nasasrah, and Jihad Odeh.
Twenty Palestinians suffered from excessive tear gas inhalation, he added.
An Israeli military spokeswoman said that “approximately 200 Palestinians gathered in the area and a riot erupted” as they “were hurling rocks.”
Although she was familiar with the report of an Israeli settler opening fire, she said that the police and border police were responsible in the area.
An Israeli police spokesman, meanwhile, said that one Palestinian was critically injured when officers responded after feeling that their lives were in danger.
The border police did not comment on whether any Palestinians had been killed.
Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said that a settler in Huwarra fired “in the air” after Palestinians threw stones at her car.
Fadi Fadhel al-Khatib, 17, was shot by Israeli forces with a live bullet in the stomach in clashes in Bilin.
Dozens of others suffered from excessive tear gas inhalation, and fires broke out in the village’s fields due to the heave firing of tear gas canisters.
Marches across West Bank
The incidents came as other Palestinians across the West Bank protested in solidarity with Gaza.
Clashes were also ongoing in Tuqu near Bethlehem and in front of the Beit El settlement near Ramallah.
In the Beit El clashes, five Palestinians were reported injured with live bullets.
Palestinians staged one of the largest protests the West Bank has seen in years near Ramallah late Thursday, as over 20,000 marched in solidarity with Gaza toward Israel’s Qalandia checkpoint.
A Palestinian was killed in the clashes and another was declared “clinically dead” after being hit by Israeli fire. Over 100 were injured with live fire.
The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine said in a statement Friday that the ongoing West Bank protests were a “natural extension of the brave Palestinians’ resistance in the Gaza Strip.”
The faction called for the marches to continue.
(Ma’an News – www.maannews.net)