ISRAELI forces opened fired with live ammunition on a protest in Hebron yesterday hitting at least ten Palestinians.
The ‘rally of anger’ erupted into fierce clashes as Palestinians demanded the release of the bodies of 11 people shot dead in Hebron earlier this month. The march was called by Palestinian factions across Hebron district, and set off from the al-Haras mosque toward Bab al-Zawiya in Hebron’s city centre.
As soon as they reached the town centre, Israeli forces assaulted dozens of Palestinians, including family members of the 11 Palestinians whose bodies Israel is withholding. Israeli forces fired live and rubber-coated steel rounds, as well as tear gas canisters and stun grenades, while Palestinian youths responded by hurling stones.
The activist group International Solidarity Movement reported: ‘It was a peaceful demonstration, really just clapping and with flags, and suddenly everything was on fire.’ Dr Walid Zalloum, director of Hebron’s governmental hospital, said that at least 10 Palestinians had been brought in with gunshot wounds.
He said another three had been shot with rubber-coated steel bullets, while dozens more had suffered excessive tear gas inhalation. ”Our crews are treating each case accordingly,’ he said.
Dozens of local officials and prominent community leaders marched at the front of the demonstration.
Shortly before clashes erupted, these leaders approached Israeli soldiers at a military checkpoint that seals off Shuhada street from Bab al-Zawiya and demanded the release of the ‘martyrs’. Israeli soldiers reportedly told them to await the arrival of Israeli Civil Administration officers so they could make their request to them.
Since the beginning of October, 18 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces across Hebron district, including five children. The majority were shot dead in Hebron city, the highest death toll outside of Jerusalem. Earlier this month, Israel’s security cabinet announced that the bodies of Palestinians shot dead by Israeli forces after carrying out attacks on Israeli citizens would no longer be returned to their families.