Israeli forces kill two Palestinians on 'Nakba' anniversary in W. Bank

Thousands of Palestinians marked the passing of 66 years since the "Nakba" ("the catastrophe"), when hundreds of thousands of Palestinians were driven from their land to make way for the nascent state of Israel.

Israeli forces kill two Palestinians on 'Nakba' anniversary in W. Bank

World Bulletin/News Desk

Israeli forces shot dead two Palestinians during a protest on Thursday marking the "Nakba", the annual commemoration of what Palestinians term the catastrophe of their displacement when Israel was founded.

Hospital officials said Muhammad Abu Thahr, 22, and Nadim Nuwara, 17, were both shot in the heart outside Israel's Ofer Prison near the Palestinian city of Ramallah in the occupied West Bank.

Israeli forces used teargas and rubber bullets to disperse Palestinian protesters who gathered at the Qalandiya checkpoint in Ramallah.

Clashes also broke out in the West Bank city of Bethlehem between Palestinian demonstrators and Israeli forces.

The use of live bullets on protesters is a dangerous escalation by (Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin) Netanyahu's extremist government which aims to drag the region into a new cycle of violence," Wasel Abu Youssef, a senior Palestinian official, told Reuters.

Ofer prison has been a focal point of Palestinian anger over Israel's detention and occupation policies.

Around two hundred demonstrators waved flags and threw stones there, marking the 66th anniversary of the "Nakba," meaning catastrophe, when many Palestinians fled or were expelled from their towns and villages during the war of Israel's foundation in 1948.

Israeli army troops deployed in the West Bank were in a state of alert for the Nakba anniversary.

A 1947 U.N. General Assembly resolution stipulated the creation of independent Arab and Jewish states in what was then British-mandated Palestine.

Around 800,000 Palestinians were subsequently displaced and 500 Arab villages destroyed in attacks by armed Jewish groups at the time.

According to the U.N. Palestinian refugees agency (UNRWA), there are currently more than 5 million registered Palestinian refugees inside the occupied Palestinian territories, Jordan, Syria and Lebanon.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 16 Mayıs 2014, 14:42