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Palestinian Killed by Israeli Soldiers in Clashes Near Bethlehem

Palestinians in the West Bank have been protesting the ongoing military assault in the Gaza Strip for the past several weeks.

by Olivia Becker
Jul 23 2014, 4:55pm

Anna Ferensowicz/AP

Outrage over the current bombardment of the Gaza Strip has spread throughout the West Bank and brought violent clashes between Palestinians and Israeli forces, which today left one man dead near the West Bank town of Bethlehem.

Mahmud Hamamra, 32, was shot and killed by Israeli forces in the village of Hussan early Wednesday morning, according to local Palestinian medical reports. He is the second Palestinian to be killed in two days during protests in the West Bank.

Mahmoud Saleh Hamamra, a 34 year-old Palestinian shop owner, was killed on Wednesday, July 23 in the west of Bethlehem. This video shows mourners gathering around his dead body.

“Earlier today, 50 rioters hurled rocks and Molotov cocktails at IDF soldiers near Hussan, who responded with riot dispersal means,” a spokesperson for the IDF told VICE News. “Initial reports indicate one Palestinian rioter died from wounds inflicted by rubber bullets." According to Palestinian reports, however, Hamamra was shot with live fire from the military.

Hamamra’s death is the latest casualty to have occurred in the protests that have erupted across the West Bank against Israel’s military offensive in the Gaza Strip in the past several weeks. Tuesday night, violent clashes took place between Palestinian demonstrators and Israeli soldiers in East Jerusalem and seven Palestinians were arrested, according to Ma’an News Agency.

The military operation in Gaza — now entering its 16th day — has killed a reported 655 Palestinians and 29 Israelis, and shows no sign of letting up. According to Navi Pillay, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, 74 percent of the Palestinians killed have been civilians. Intense fighting took place in the southern region of the Gaza strip today, especially in the town of Khan Younis.

This has led Pillay, the UN’s top human rights official, to condemn Israel’s actions.

“There seems to be a strong possibility that international law has been violated, in a manner that could amount to war crimes," Pillay told an emergency debate at the UN Human Rights Council today.

Meanwhile, US Secretary of State John Kerry flew to Israel today to attempt to negotiate an immediate end to hostilities between Israel and Hamas.

"We certainly have made steps forward," Kerry said in Jerusalem in a meeting with U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon. "There's still work to be done."

Follow Olivia Becker on Twitter: @obecker928

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