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Palestinians arrested in West Bank as Israel bombs Gaza

PALESTINIAN police arrested 24 demonstrators in the West Bank today as Israeli forces bombed besieged Gaza.

The Israeli Defence Forces reportedly targeted “weapons sites” in the strip following a border protest against the siege on Saturday, which was fired on by Israeli troops who injured 24.

Hamas had organised the demo to highlight the ongoing impact of the Israeli-Egyptian siege of the strip, which has impoverished and imprisoned Gaza’s two million people.

Israeli authorities say crowds became violent, throwing “rocks and explosives” at troops from behind smoke from burning tyres, and that one soldier was critically injured. The Gaza health ministry said the youngest Palestinian wounded by gunfire was a 13-year-old girl.

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said Israel would “settle the score with those who harm our soldiers and Israeli civilians” and that the military was “ready for any scenario.”

Earlier this summer an 11-day conflict broke out between Israel and Gaza’s ruling Hamas, sparked by Israeli attempts to evict Palestinians in East Jerusalem and attacks on Palestinian worshippers at the al-Aqsa mosque. At least 254 Palestinians and 12 Israelis were killed.

But unrest in the West Bank was directed at the Palestinian Authority, which is under fire over the death in custody of one of its critics, Nizar Banat, on June 24.

A planned protest calling for those responsible to be held to account was shut down by Palestinian security forces today and 24 of those attending were arrested.

Police spokesman Louay Arzeigat issued a statement saying the demonstrators had not received a permit and “refused to sign the conditions for the gathering.”

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