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Palestinian protesters clash with IDF forces in Hebron.
Photo: Reuters
Palestinians, IDF clash in protest to demand main Hebron street re-opened
Street was closed 20 years ago after Israeli settler gunned down 29 Muslim worshippers at the of the Patriarchs.

Palestinians and IDF forces clashed in Hebron on Friday in a protest to demand the re-opening of a main street in the city that was declared a military zone 20 years ago.

 

 

Some 250 protesters started throwing stones at IDF forces in the city. The army responded with crowd dispersal means.

 

Palestinians have reported that up to 15 protesters were hurt from rubber-coated bullets. A Palestinian medical official told AFP that three others have suffered from tear gas inhalation but did not need hospital treatment.

 

In addition, B'Tselem said one of its researchers, Musa Abu Hasha, was hurt in his head while documenting the clashes. He was taken to hospital in good condition.

 

Meanwhile, an IDF spokesman said only five protesters were hurt in their legs from rubber-coated bullets.

 

About 1,000 Palestinians, led by Hebron Governor Kamel Hamid and joined by Israeli and international activits, marched from the Ali mosque to a flashpoint IDF post on Shuhada Street, chanting "Stop occupation" and "No occupation, no settlements."

 

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After some protesters started throwing stones at IDF soldiers, troops called on the marchers to disperse, and when they ignored the order fired stun grenades and tear gas, an AFP correspondent said.

 

Five protesters were arreted, Palestinian report.

 

Shuhada Street was partially closed to Palestinians after Jewish extremist Baruch Goldstein, a doctor from the nearby Kiryat Arba settlement, gunned down 29 Muslim worshippers at the Tomb of the Patriarchs, on February 25, 1994.

 

Six years later, at the outset of the second Palestinian intifada, or uprising, the army declared it a "closed military zone," restricting Palestinian access to residents of the immediate area, on foot only.

 

Palestinians say the central street's closure is disruptive and helps cement Israeli control over the area.

 

Tensions run high in Hebron where about 500 Israelis live amid 170,000 Palestinians.

 

AP and Elior Levy contributed to this report.

 

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