Palestinian, 11, shot in face during East Jerusalem clash
The boy was wounded in the flashpoint district of Issawiya where police faced off with stone-throwers
An 11-year-old Palestinian boy was hit between the eyes by a sponge round fired by Israeli police during clashes in annexed east Jerusalem on Thursday, medics said.
The boy was wounded in the flashpoint district of Issawiya where police faced off with stone-throwers at a demonstration by residents over the closure of most access roads to the area.
The clashes erupted in the early morning when around 100 people, among them schoolchildren, tried to block the main road leading from east Jerusalem to the Dead Sea in protest over the lack of access for vehicles to and from the district.
Police tried to break up the demonstration, firing tear gas, percussion bombs and sponge rounds as masked youths hurled stones at them, police and an AFP correspondent said.
Medics from the Red Crescent said the round hit the boy between the eyes, smashing his nose and causing heavy bleeding.
He was rushed to the nearby Makassed hospital but later transferred to Hadassah Ein Kerem in the west of the city.
Paramedics also treated another 16 residents for tear gas inhalation after a gas canister fired by police hit a local bus, they said.
Israeli police use sponge rounds within Israel and east Jerusalem since the use of rubber-coated metal bullets was prohibited.
Police protocol explicitly prohibits firing sponge rounds at the upper body.
The clashes continued throughout the morning, with residents planning a protest march during the afternoon, the correspondent said.
Home to some 20,000 Palestinians, Issawiya lies in the valley east of the Hebrew University on Mount Scopus, close to the main road to the Dead Sea.
Local activist Raed Abu Riyaal told AFP that the parents’ committee had decided to protest over police action to cut off three of the district’s four entrances with concrete blocks.
He said a group of young residents had decided to block the main road “in order to put pressure on police to reopen the main entrances.”
Earlier this week, residents lodged an appeal with Israel’s supreme court against the closure, describing it as “collective punishment,” Abu Riyaal said.
The court has given the state until November 19 to file its response.
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