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Israeli forces open fire on Palestinian protests, 379 wounded

Israeli forces opened fired injuring hundreds of Palestinian demonstrators for rallying against an outpost Israel set up on occupied West Bank on Friday, with more than 370 people wounded including 31 hit by live ammunition.

Drones dropped tear gas canisters and smoke filled the air at the scene of the protest in the West Bank town of Beita, near Nablus, where Palestinians protested illegal land confiscation.

Demonstrators burned tyres and threw rocks at Israeli forces. Israeli forces fired live rounds and rubber-coated steel bullets at the demonstrators after Friday prayers in Beita.




The Palestine Red Crescent reported 379 protesters were wounded, including 31 by live ammunition.

Similar scenes were witnessed in the town of Kafr Qaddum and in Beit Dajan, where dozens of Palestinians were treated for the effects of tear gas. The Israeli army also suppressed a protest against the settlements in the Masafer Yatta area in Hebron.

Israeli and Palestinian estimates indicate there are about 650,000 settlers in the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem, living in 164 settlements and 116 outposts.



Under international law, all Israeli settlements in the occupied territories are illegal.

Evyatar

Palestinians in nearby villages say the Evyatar outpost was illegally built on their land and fear it will grow and merge with larger settlements nearby.

At least four protesters, including two teenagers, have been killed in the clashes in recent months.

The settlers named the outpost Evyatar after an Israeli was killed in 2013, and say it is home to dozens of families.

At the end of June, Israel reached a compromise with the settlers living in Evyatar. Under the agreement, the settlers left the outpost, and the area became a closed military zone, but the houses and roads remained in place.

An Israeli government survey will be carried out that the settlers say will prove the outpost was not established on land privately owned by Palestinians.

That would pave the way to establish a religious school and for some families to return.