Palestinian Authority police forces blocking the entrance to al-Amari refugee camp near Ramallah during clashes on Monday evening, 21 January 2013. (Photo: Allison Deger/Mondoweiss)
On Sunday night, Palestinian police fired live rounds at demonstrators in the al-Amari refugee camp near Ramallah in the roughest encounter between security forces and West Bank Palestinians to date.
Clashes started after residents congregated earlier in the day in opposition to the poor treatment of a high-profile Palestinian hunger striker in an Israeli prison. By 7:30pm police entered the camp and at 10pm over 100 officers in riot gear from the special operations unit were inside of al-Amari, shooting at the refugees.
During the clashes around 30 armed police officers in green chased off rubbernecking residents outside of the camp’s congested streets. They were supported by eight additional police vans full of men in uniform, and one plain-clothed unit.
The number of refugees injured by the Palestinian Authority (PA) police is not confirmed, but a witness and camp resident said seven were shot with live fire, with three sustaining critical injuries including shots to the head, and an additional six arrested. A spokesperson for the PA police told Mondoweiss he was unable to confirm the number of injured, for security purposes.
It is unconfirmed if refugees also used live fire when battling the police, but Ynet News reported 15 officers were injured in the clashes:
Medical sources in the West Bank city of Ramallah have reported that three Palestinian youths have been injured from live ammunition fired at them and another 15 police officers have been injured by rocks hurled at them at the protest being held at the al-Amari refugee camp.
Some of the injured were evacuated to the hospital while others were treated at the scene. Numerous Palestinian security forces arrived at the scene in order to prevent the situation from worsening and declared the camp a closed military zone.
Both entrances to al-Amari camp were re-opened by 11:30pm.