Nearly two dozen Palestinians have sustained gunshot wounds when Israeli military forces opened fire at a group of demonstrators participating in a protest rally against the protracted and extremely violent attacks being carried out by the extremist settlers across the occupied West Bank.
Dozens of protesters converged in an open field near al-Mughayyir village, located 27 kilometers northeast of Ramallah, following Friday prayers to express their resentment over repeated attacks by settlers.
Israeli troops then shot live and rubber-coated steel bullets to disperse the non-violent protesters.
At least 15 Palestinians were struck by live bullets, while another four were injured by rubber rounds.
On January 26, a Palestinian man was shot dead and dozens others were wounded during a confrontation with Israeli soldiers and settlers in al-Mughayyir.
The Palestinian Health Ministry said the 38-year-old, identified as Hamdi Na’san, was shot in the back and succumbed to his wounds shortly after at a hospital in the central West Bank city of Ramallah. He is survived by his wife and four children.
At least 30 others were also wounded during confrontations, according to the Palestine Red Crescent Society.
Amin Abu Alya, head of the Mughayyir village council, said settlers opened fire before the Israeli military moved in.
“At the beginning, it was settlers shooting, then the army came and fired tear gas,” he said.
More than half a million Israelis live in over 120 settlements built since Israel’s occupation of the Palestinian territories of the West Bank in 1967. This is while much of the international community considers the settler units illegal and subject to the Geneva Conventions, which forbid construction on occupied land.
In Gaza Strip, Israeli soldiers injure nearly three dozen Palestinians
Separately, dozens of Palestinians were injured during clashes between thousands of Palestinian protesters and Israeli soldiers stationed on the border between the eastern Gaza Strip and the Israeli-occupied territories.
The spokesman for the Gaza Ministry of Health, Ashraf al-Qidra, said in a statement on Friday that 32 civilians were struck with live bullets during “The Great March of Return” protests east of Gaza City.
Qidra went on to say that a Palestinian paramedic suffered injuries when a tear gas canister struck him in the face east of the border town of Rafah.
Medical sources, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said a boy and a teenage girl were critically injured while participating in a protest rally in Khuza’a town in the southern Gaza Strip.
Palestinians have held weekly protests on the Gaza border, over the siege on the enclave and the right for refugees to return to their homes they were forcibly expelled from during the 1948 creation of Israel.
Nearly 250 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces ever since anti-occupation protest rallies began in the Gaza Strip on March 30. Over 26,000 Palestinians have also sustained injuries.
The Gaza clashes reached their peak on May 14 last year, on the eve of the 70th anniversary of Nakba Day (Day of Catastrophe), which coincided this year with the US embassy relocation from Tel Aviv to occupied East Jerusalem al-Quds.