Dozens of Palestinians have been injured by Israeli forces in the occupied West Bank city of Hebron during protests against the Israeli government’s refusal to return the bodies of Palestinians killed during alleged attacks.Thousands of Palestinians protested in the city and the surrounding villages in a “Rally of Rage” called for by political factions
They are demanding that Israel return the bodies of 11 locals who were killed while allegedly attacking Israeli soldiers or civilians.
In a statement, local families called on Palestinians to “take to the streets to demand the return of the bodies of our heroic children held by the Israeli occupation forces”
Israeli authorities are currently holding the bodies of at least 16 Palestinians who were fatally shot during alleged attacks, according to Palestinian officials.
Israeli forces injured at least 143 Palestinians during protests across the West Bank, said the Palestinian Red Crescent.
“I have never seen a protest like this [in Hebron] in my life,” said Issa Amro, coordinator of Youth Against Settlements, a Hebron-based activist group.
“Israeli occupation forces fired live ammo, tear gas, rubber-coated bullets [and] stun grenades even though there were no clashes taking place yet.”
Israeli soldiers shot at least 10 protesters with live ammunition, Amro told Al Jazeera, adding that “dozens” more were arrested, “including local human rights defenders and humanitarian workers”.
“The families of the martyrs led the march, and everyone was participating: women, men, elderly, youth, children, religious people, secular people,” he said, recalling that the group marched to a checkpoint in Hebron’s Old City
Speaking to Al Jazeera, an Israeli army spokeswoman said that soldiers used “riot dispersal means” against “Palestinians who were violently rioting, hurling stones and throwing molotov cocktails”.
Meanwhile, a Palestinian has been shot and killed by Israeli forces after he allegedly attempted to stab a soldier in Hebron in the Occupied West Bank. If confirmed, the death is the third fatal shooting in the past 24 hours.
Earlier, two Palestinians were killed after they reportedly attacked an Israeli soldier at the Gush Etzion Junction near Bethlehem, a city in the central West Bank.
The soldier sustained moderate injuries, according to an Israeli police spokesman.
Triggered last month by Israeli incursions in the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound, protests against Israel’s occupation have spread throughout Israel and the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip.
Since the beginning of the month, Israeli forces and settlers have killed at least 63 Palestinians, including unarmed protesters, bystanders and suspected attackers.
Nine Israelis have been killed by Palestinian attackers in stabbing or shooting incidents.