Palestinian Protestors Clash with Israeli Forces on Election Day
Twenty-three Palestinians and two Israeli soldiers were injured Tuesday in violent "day of rage" protests in the West Bank to mark the Israeli election, medical officials and reporters said, cited by AFP.
Twenty Palestinians were injured when Israeli soldiers fired rubber bullets and tear gas at stone-throwing Palestinians who had marched towards a military checkpoint at El-Bireh, at the northern entrance of Ramallah.
Another three Palestinians were injured by rubber bullets in Hebron, where dozens of young people hurled stones at soldiers, who also responded with tear gas and stun grenades, an AFP correspondent said.
Israeli radio also reported that two Israeli soldiers were injured in the clashes.
Thousands of Palestinians were taking part in a mass protest march through the streets of the West Bank town of Ramallah, said reports.
Clashes erupted between Israeli troops and up to 2,000 demonstrators who marched and chanted "the intifada will continue" and "Sharon the Butcher," said AFP and Al Jazira satellite channel.
Israeli soldiers fired tear gas at stone-throwing Palestinians who had marched towards a military checkpoint at El-Bireh, at the northern entrance to the town, but there were no reports of any injuries.
The march, organized by the Intifada leadership, is in protest against the continuing closure imposed on Palestinian areas.
Another 200 people demonstrated in the northern West Bank town of Tulkarem, burning portraits of Sharon and Barak, but there had been no sign of the massive street protests or violence that has often accompanied past "days of rage" during the four-month Intifada that has cost almost 400 lives, according to AFP.
Israel on Monday announced a complete closure of the Palestinian territories and stationed about 15,000 security men in the areas, anticipating violence on election day.
Earlier in the day, Palestinians opened fire at Israeli troops on Tuesday afternoon near Rafiah in the southern end of the Gaza Strip near the Egyptian border, according to The Jerusalem Post.
The occupation soldiers returned fire, but none was injured, said the report.
On Monday afternoon, an Israeli soldier was killed by Palestinian sniper fire near Gaza as he rode in an armored personnel carrier.
The paper also reported that the Israeli police arrested overnight a Palestinian policeman in Jerusalem's northern Beit Hanina neighborhood.
The officer was employed by Jibril Rjoub's Preventive Security apparatus, said the paper, quoting security sources.
The man was in possession of a classified Israeli army map and other apparently stolen property was found in his home, said the paper.
According to a report on Army Radio, the policeman resisted arrest.
In the early hours of the Israeli election day, Israeli targets came under fire at numerous locations across the West Bank and the Gaza Strip during the night, said the Post.
Palestinian gunmen shot at Israeli settlers and Army troops near Nablus, Ramallah and Hebron in the West Bank.
The Gaza Strip settlements of Netzarim, Kfar Darom and Neveh Dekalim came under sniper fire as well, the daily said – Albawaba.com
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