Palestinian protesters for hunger strikers, Israeli soldiers clash again

JERUSALEM (JTA) — At least 1,000 Palestinians demonstrated near a West Bank prison — the latest rally in support of inmates on long-term hunger strikes.

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The protesters threw stones at Israeli security forces and burned tires after being stopped at the military checkpoint in the West Bank Palestinian town of Beitunia, according to reports. They were marching to the Ofer Prison near Ramallah.

Police dispersed the crowd with tear gas and rubber-coated bullets.

Two Israeli journalists were injured by stones during the clashes. At least 29 Palestinian protesters also were injured by rubber-coated bullets, according to the Palestinian Ma’an news service.

Protests in support of the four hunger strikers have been held throughout the West Bank since last week.

The four long-term hunger strikers are being held in administrative detention, under which a prisoner can be held without charges for up to four months. The administrative detention also can be renewed.

Samer Issawi, who has been on a hunger strike for more than 200 days and is said to be near death, was scheduled to be in a Jerusalem court Thursday seeking his release from administrative detention. 

Issawi was released in the 2011 prisoner swap to free captive soldier Gilad Shalit but was later rearrested.

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