Israeli forces open fire on Palestinian students in refugee camp
Palestinians in the Jalazone refugee camp in the West Bank look out at a wall surrounding an Israeli settlement. (AFP/File)
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Israeli forces Thursday opened live fire on Palestinian students in the Jalazone refugee camp in the occupied West Bank district of Ramallah as they were leaving school, injuring a Palestinian minor, according to locals.
Local sources told Ma’an that although no clashes were happening in the area, Israeli forces shot live bullets at the students, injuring a Palestinian student in his back and hand.
After the minor was injured, clashes broke out between Israeli forces and Palestinian youths from the camp. Locals told Ma’an Israeli forces opened live fire and rubber-coated steel bullets at the youths, while shooting sound bombs and tear gas canisters into the community during the clashes.
It remained unknown as of Thursday the level of severity of the unidentified youth's injuries.
An Israeli army spokesperson told Ma’an she would look into reports.
Israeli police and soldiers have come under heavy criticism over the past year by rights groups for excessive use of force against Palestinians -- against youth and children in particular -- who did not pose an immediate threat.
A report recently released by the Palestinian NGO BADIL, the Resource Center for Palestinian Residency and Refugee Rights, warned of an intensification of the “systematic targeting” of Palestinian youth in the occupied Palestinian territory since the beginning of 2016.
“This targeting has taken the form of injuries and arbitrary killings by the use of live ammunition by the Israeli army in the context of arrest campaigns, military raids, and random wide searches which usually trigger clashes,” the statement said.
BADIL's initial investigations into the trend focused on the southern occupied West Bank district of Bethlehem, where at least 83 people have been shot with live ammunition since the beginning of the year, the majority in their legs and knees, causing both permanent and temporary disabilities.
The escalation of live fire injuries came amid reports of an Israeli army commander responsible for the near-nightly raids into Bethlehem's three refugee camps -- Duheisha, Aida, and Azza -- threatening to disable all the camp youth in Duheisha.
“These threats indicate that these actions are not accidental or isolated incidents, but rather result from a systematic Israeli military policy aimed at suppressing resistance, terrorizing Palestinian youth, and permanently injuring them and/or causing significant damage to their physical and mental well-being,” BADIL said in their statement.
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