independent

Thursday 17 April 2014

Israeli raid sparks West Bank clash

Palestinians hurl stones at Israeli soldiers during clashes in the West Bank village of Tamoun, near Jenin (AP/Mohammed Ballas)

An arrest raid by undercover Israeli soldiers disguised as vegetable sellers sparked rare clashes in the northern West Bank, leaving at 10 Palestinians wounded.

Israeli army raids into Palestinian areas to seize activists and militants are fairly common. The raids are normally co-ordinated with Palestinian security forces and suspects are usually apprehended without violence.

The clashes began early on Tuesday after Israeli forces disguised as merchants in a vegetable truck arrested one man. Regular army forces then entered the town, prompting youths to hurl rocks to try to prevent more arrests.

Israeli forces fired tear gas, rubber bullets and live ammunition as youths set tyres and bins on fire to block the passage of military vehicles. In several hours of clashes, dozens of masked youths hid behind makeshift barriers, hurling rocks and firebombs at soldiers.

Faris Bisharat, a resident of Tamoun, said 10 men were wounded, some by live fire. He said the wanted men belonged to Islamic Jihad, a violent group sworn to Israel's destruction. It was not clear how many men Israeli forces sought to arrest. There were no immediate details on how seriously the 10 were hurt.

The Israeli military said it arrested a "terrorist affiliated with the Islamic Jihad terror group" and two soldiers were injured during the raid.

The fighting, which broke out in several parts of the town of around 8,000 people, was a rare, angry response.

It was also unusual for Israeli forces to use live fire towards Palestinian demonstrators. Israel says it uses live fire only in extremely dangerous situations.

Press Association

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