Clashes with Israel troops wound dozens of Palestinians near Ramallah
RAMALLAH (Occupied West Bank) - Hundreds of stone-throwing Palestinian youths clashed with Israeli soldiers who raided a refugee camp in the occupied West Bank on Monday, leaving dozens shot and wounded.
The Palestinian health ministry said 28 people were shot, including one in the head, during clashes in Al-Amari camp at the entrance to the West Bank city of Ramallah.
A squad of around 25 Israeli soldiers arrived in the camp, located on the edge of the city where the Palestinian Authority has its headquarters, early on Monday morning.
Palestinian security sources said the army tried to arrest an official from Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas's Fatah party, who managed to escape.
The Israeli army did not give a reason for their raid in the camp, speaking only of "operational activity".
Once in the streets of the camp, which is home to 15,000 Palestinians, soldiers clashed with hundreds of youths who threw stones and glass bottles.
The soldiers responded by firing rubber bullets and live ammunition.
One soldier was injured by stones and needed to be aided by colleagues, according to journalists on the scene.
An army spokeswoman said "dozens of rioters hurled homemade explosives and rocks at forces", although the journalists saw no explosive devices.
"Forces called on the rioters to halt the assault using riot dispersal means. Upon the continued violence, the force responded, shooting towards the main instigators," the spokeswoman added.
The clashes lasted for nearly three hours before troops left the camp. Some of the soldiers were picked up by military jeeps, while others left to a nearby Jewish settlement.
Palestinians followed them, blocking the main road from Ramallah to Jerusalem for about half an hour.
Later on Monday, Israeli police said they arrested a 15-year-old Palestinian girl carrying two knifes in her bag after she approached police on the edge of the Old City of Jerusalem.
The events were the latest in more than four months of violence rocking Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories.
Since October 1, 172 Palestinians, 26 Israelis, as well as an American, a Sudanese and an Eritrean have been killed in a wave of violence.
Most of the Palestinians were killed while carrying out attacks but others died during clashes and demonstrations.