Feb 15, 2013 No Comments ›› Pat Dollard
Excerpted from The Jerusalem Post: Widespread rioting erupted in the West Bank on Friday in support of hunger striking Palestinian prisoners, with groups of Palestinians hurling rocks and Molotov cocktails at IDF soldiers, who responded with various riot dispersal means.
In Betunia, west of Ramallah, near the Ofer security prison, some 300 Palestinians rioted and threw rocks at the IDF. Two soldiers were lightly injured by rocks thrown, an army spokeswoman said. Four Palestinians were lightly injured by rubber bullets in the clash.
Palestinian medics said that 156 Palestinians were treated for smoke inhalation, according to Palestinian news agency Ma’an.
Palestinian medical officials also said two protesters were wounded by live gunfire in the demonstration.
The IDF Spokesman’s Office responded that, “During a violent an illegal riot near Betunia, Palestinians hurled rocks at IDF soldiers. The soldiers, feeling immediate danger, fired while leaving the area. The incident is being reviewed.”
Smaller demonstrations in solidarity with the hunger strikers were also held across the West Bank on Friday, including in Bethlehem, Jenin and outside the settlement of Efrat, according to Ma’an.
Sixty Palestinians gathered at Kafr Qaddum, west of Nablus, and hurled rocks and firebombs at soldiers. The soldiers were dealing with that incident.
Some 80 Palestinians appeared at Nabi Salah, near Ramallah, to take part in a violent disturbance, and 30 Palestinians attacked soldiers in the Kalandiya area, between Ramallah and Jerusalem.
The riots came after the Kfir Brigade’s Haruv Battallion carried out arrests of nine Palestinian suspects overnight Thursday in the West Bank village of Azun, on suspicion of throwing rocks at Israeli vehicles, causing injuries.
The arrests followed intelligence gathering in the village, which has been a hotbed of rock and Molotov cocktail attacks on passing Israeli vehicles in the area.