'Palestinian killed in W. Bank clashes with the IDF'

Ma'an report says 33-year-old man shot by IDF soldiers; IDF confirms it was operating in area, had been working to quell violent protests.

By
September 23, 2011 18:12
3 minute read.
Palestinian youth throws stones at Kalandia

Palestinian youth throws stones at Kalandia checkpoint 311. (photo credit: REUTERS/Darren Whiteside)

 
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A Palestinian was reportedly killed on Friday during clashes with the IDF outside the village of Qusra in the West Bank, marking the first casualty since riots began earlier this week in conjunction with the Palestinian Authority’s bid for statehood at the United Nations.

The IDF said that it was looking into the reports and had launched a joint investigation with PA security forces. The Ma’an News Agency identified the dead man as Issam Kamal Odeh, 33, and said he was shot by two bullets in the neck and shoulder during clashes with the IDF troops near Qusra and not far from the city of Nablus.

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The IDF confirmed that it was operating in the area and had been working to quell violent protests which erupted outside the village with the participation of around 300 Palestinians. The military said that soldiers used various riot dispersal means including live fire. Two other Palestinians were also reported to have been injured.

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Earlier in the day, violence broke out in east Jerusalem and at the Kalandiya Crossing north of Jerusalem. A number of East Jerusalem Arabs and Palestinians were arrested by police. Other protests were held at the villages of Bilin and Nilin near the West Bank security barrier.

The IDF was on high alert throughout the West Bank amid fears that Palestinians would launch large-scale demonstrations in conjunction with PA President Mahmoud Abbas’s speech later Friday at the United Nations.

Chief of General Staff Lt.-Gen. Benny Gantz toured the West Bank on Friday and held a number of security consultations with commanders in the field. Gantz visited the Kalandiya Crossing together with OC Central Command Maj.-Gen. Avi Mizrachi and then traveled to the Gush Etzion settlement bloc, stopping to meet soldiers deployed near Bethlehem. 

Following a strategy meeting with police officers on Friday afternoon next to the  Al Aqsa Mosque plaza, Public Security Minister Yitzhak Ahronovitch said "the period from the end of prayers until the Abbas speech are very sensitive hours," he said.

Five thousand worshippers attended prayers at Al Aqsa and left the plaza without incident, though a young woman in religious dress was seen being led to a waiting police car in handcuffs.

Police arrested two youths at the Majalas Gate, one of the entrances to the Temple Mount, after the two tried to force their way into the plaza.

As is typical during politically sensitive times when police fear the possibility of violence, Friday prayers were limited to men over age 50 with blue Israeli ID cards and women of any age.

Three youths were also arrested in Beit Hanina after they burned tires and threw rock at a patrol of border police. Another youth was also arrested for throwing rocks in Ras al Amud.

Police Insp.-Gen. Yochanan Danino said security forces were deployed across the country with a special emphasis on Jerusalem and the border around Jerusalem. Danino and Ahronovitch planned to tour the Jerusalem-West Bank border and the Kalandia checkpoint later this afternoon.

"Our goal is awareness, trying to be aware of situations before we need to use force," he said after the meeting. "The quiet is continuing and we haven't seen any evidence that people are preparing to disturb the peace," he said.

Ahronovitch also stressed that the car accident this morning in Kiryat Arba, in which a 5-year-old Palestinian boy was in critical condition after being hit by a car driven by Jews, was an accident. "We know this was not premeditated and it doesn't seem that there is a connection to the events and we will continue to enforce the quiet," said Ahronovitch.

Hundreds of east Jerusalem residents are expected to gather at Damascus Gate this evening for a showing of Abbas' speech on a giant screen.


Melanie Lidman and Jpost.com staff contributed to this report.


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