Israeli forces kill two Palestinians at West Bank Nakba rally


Israeli forces opened fire on Palestinians in the West Bank marking the 66th anniversary of the Nakba, killing at least two people, local media reported.

Palestinian new agency Ma’an, which has reporters on the ground, identified the victims as 22-year-old Mohammed Odeh Abu al-Thaher, and 17-year-old Nadim Siyam Nawara.

The report said dozens more were injured after choking on Israeli tear gas.

The victims came under attack while demanding the release of thousands of Palestinians held by Israel during a protest near Ofer prison, outside Ramallah.

The Nakba, or “catastrophe,” refers to 1948 takeover of Palestine by Jewish militias who drove 760,000 Palestinians from their homes.

Separately at the Qalandia checkpoint between Jerusalem and Ramallah, protesters set fire to tires and hurled stones at occupation forces who responded with “riot dispersal means,” an army spokesman told AFP, using the term usually applied to the use of rubber coated bullets or tear gas.

In the Gaza Strip, hundreds of people, some carrying Palestinian flags or banners calling for refugees to be allowed to return to their former homes, marched near the Erez crossing.

In the West Bank, rallies were held in the cities of Nablus and Hebron.

In Ramallah, where Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas has his headquarters, people on the streets stood in silence for 66 seconds while sirens wailed.

“On this 66th anniversary of the Nakba we hope that this year will be the one in which our long suffering ends,” Abbas said in a speech broadcast on Palestinian TV and radio on Wednesday evening.

“It is time to put an end to the longest occupation in modern history and time for Israel’s leaders to understand that there is no other homeland for the Palestinians but Palestine,” he said.