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Israel kills two men in West Bank clashes

July 25, 2014

Israeli police shoot dead two Palestinians and injure scores of others in Qalandia during massive protests over Gaza.

Israeli police have shot dead at least two Palestinians during a massive protest in the occupied West Bank, just north of Jerusalem, in support of those under siege in Gaza.

Palestinian security and medical officials named one of the men as Mohammed Al-Aaraj, 25, who was among thousands of people clashing with soldiers and border police in Qalandia, between Jerusalem and Ramallah.

Scores of people have been reported injured, several of whom were shot.

The protesters say they also want to reach the Al-Aqsa Mosque, to mark Laylat al-Qadr, or Night of Destiny, when Muslims pray through the night as the holy month of Ramadan nears its end.

“There are thousands of rioters there,” an Israeli army spokeswoman told the AFP news agency.

“They are rolling burning tyres and throwing molotov cocktails and fireworks at soldiers and border police.

“The soldiers are responding with riot disposal means,” she added, a term used to cover less-than-lethal weapons such as rubber bullets and tear gas.

Doctors in the main Ramallah hospital said they had received dozens of live fire victims and appealed for blood donors.

Jerusalem clashes

Earlier, Israeli police had said that due to fears of violent protest over the deadly Israeli military campaign in the Gaza Strip, they would bar men under the age of 50 from Jerusalem’s flashpoint Al-Aqsa mosque for what are usually packed prayers on the last Friday of Ramadan.

Large numbers of police deployed throughout the city on Thursday night and the police said in a statement that two officers were injured by stone throwers in the vicinity of the mosque.

Police said that 20 protesters were arrested in various violent disturbances in Palestinian areas of the city.

At least 800 Palestinians have been killed and more than 5,250 injured during Israel’s offensive against Gaza.

Two Israeli civilians have been killed by fire from Gaza since the offensive began.

The total number of Israeli soldiers killed since the start of the military assault stands at 32. One more soldier has been listed as missing and is believed to be dead.

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