World Bulletin / News Desk
Israeli forces clashed with Palestinian protesters throughout the occupied West Bank on Friday amid a hunger strike by four Palestinians in Israeli jails.
Tension and anticipation is rising in the West Bank a month before U.S. President Barack Obama is due to visit Jerusalem and Ramallah.
From the precincts of Jerusalem's al-Aqsa mosque, youths threw stones at Israeli police after Friday prayers.
Dozens of Israeli officers raided the compound. Witnesses said officers fired tear gas and threw percussion grenades at the demonstrators as bystanders and elderly worshippers ran for cover.
The old city of Hebron echoed with percussion grenades hurled by Israeli forces at some 1,500 Palestinian protesters.
At a military checkpoint near the northern city of Nablus and outside a military prison in the central West Bank, Israeli forces removed makeshift roadblocks and fired rubber bullets towards Palestinians.
There were dozens of light injuries from gas inhalation and rubber and aluminium bullets, witnesses said.
3 hunger strikers hospitalized
Lawyers and officials representing hunger-striking Palestinians say their cases are locked in a legal maze and Palestinian officials hope Egyptian mediation could convince Israel to free them.
"Our prisoners ...(on) hunger strike are engaging in a true battle, a battle of glory against the tyrant," said Ismail Haniyeh, Gaza's Hamas prime minister. "No one of us will forget the prisoners. No one would enjoy being with his children at home as long as those heroes continued to suffer in jails."
The hunger strikers have told representatives of an independent Israeli medical group, Physicians for Human Rights, that they are taking water but refusing medicines and nutrients.
Israel holds around 4,700 Palestinians in its prison.
Israeli authorities have hospitalized three Palestinians on hunger strike, a prison services spokeswoman said Friday.
Ayman Sharawna, Jaafar Azzidine and Tareq Qaadan were transferred from Ramle prison to hospitals in Israel for medical tests, Sivan Weizman told Ma'an. Azzidine and Qaadan, who were taken to the Assaf Harofeh Medical Center, have been on hunger strike for 87 days in protest at their administrative detention, without charge or trial.
Sharawna went on hunger strike on July 1, 2012, but briefly stopped on Dec. 23 after believing there were developments in his case, prisoner rights group Addameer says. He restarted the strike in January.
Like Samer Issawi, who has been on hunger strike for 205 days, Sharawna was rearrested after being granted amnesty in the Oct. 2011 prisoner swap deal between Israel and Hamas. Israel's military judiciary is seeking to cancel their amnesty and reinstate their former sentences.
Sharawna was transferred to the Soroka University Medical Center while Issawi remains in Ramle prison clinic.Last Mod: 22 Şubat 2013, 17:38