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Israel engulfs an entire West Bank village in tear gas

Amid controversy over Israel’s use of tear gas against unarmed demonstrations in the West Bank and the media attention placed on Bil’in’s protest after the killing of Jawaher Abu Rahmah, Israel attacked the village of Nabi Saleh with poisonous gas. As soldiers were leaving the village, marking the end of the demonstration, the army covered the entire place with tear gas. Houses, shops and mosques engulfed in the tear gas which killed Jawaher Abu Rahmah. The army was able to do this with a  special device called ‘the ringo’ which fires 60 rounds of tear gas in about 7 seconds. The footage speaks for itself especially from minute 7:00.
The following is the report of the demonstration from the Popular Struggle Coordination Committee.

Dozens of villagers, joined by Israeli and international supporters took part in the weekly demonstration in the village despite the siege laid on the village by the army, and the unusually large number of soldiers who occupied the village’s streets. Many hiked through the mountains the entire area was declared a closed military zone as early as 9 am and a gate that was installed at the entrance to the village earlier this week was shut closed.

Unlike most weeks, this Friday’s midday prayer, which precedes the demonstration, did not take place in the village’s mosque, but rather on the hill opposing the settlement. As people gathered to pray, soldiers and Border Police officers rushed towards them, ordering them to enter their homes for the duration of the closed military zone order. In response, the protesters  staged a sit-in and refused to leave the place.

At the same time, clashes broke inside the village between the armed soldiers who took over the village, and local youth. Throughout the day, soldiers shot rubber-coated bullets at the protesting villagers and their supporters, as well as massive quantities of tear-gas. Tear-gas projectiles were often shot directly at the protesters, causing one injury. At some point, a pregnant women was evacuated to the hospital, after soldiers fired a tear-gas projectile directly into her house. Naji Tamimi, a member of the village’s popular committee, was beaten by a group of Border Police officers as he tried to approach the house in order to evacuate her.

During the day, soldiers randomly took over houses and arrested a seventeen year-old from the street. They have also tried to detained a thirteen year-old boy, but after other demonstrators gathered around him to prevent his arrest, the soldiers decided to not peruse his detention. At nightfall, on the army’s retreat out of the village, a final barrage of tear-gas was volleyed, as 64 projectiles were simultaneously  fired into the village.

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