February 23, 2013 / 3:57 PM / 7 years ago

Palestinian wounded in clashes with settlers, army

QUSRA, West Bank (Reuters) - A Palestinian man was shot in the stomach on Saturday when clashes broke out in the occupied West Bank between Jewish settlers, Palestinians and Israeli soldiers, a medical official and military sources said.

Tension in the area has been on the rise, a month before U.S. President Barack Obama is due to visit Israel and the Palestinian Territories. On Friday Palestinian demonstrators clashed with Israeli soldiers throughout the West Bank, and dozens sustained light injuries from inhaling tear gas or being hit by rubber bullets fired by the military.

An official in a West Bank hospital said the wounded man from Saturday’s incident was taken into surgery. It was not immediately clear who shot him.

Abdel Majid Hassan, a resident of Qusra village, said the trouble broke out when a group of settlers broke into his home, where he lives with his wife.

“About six or seven settlers came into our house and told us to go into another room,” Hassan, 62, said. “After about 10 minutes, residents came to help and the settlers left the house. When the army arrived, settlers began to shoot and throw stones.”

An Israeli military spokeswoman said about 25 settlers and 150 Palestinians were throwing stones at each other near the village. “Security forces are responding with riot dispersal means,” she said.

A military source, speaking on condition of anonymity, confirmed that settlers had opened fire. A Palestinian ambulance driver called to the village said several Palestinians had been taken to hospital to be treated for tear gas inhalation.

Palestinians want to create a state on land captured by Israel in a 1967 war, including the West Bank. Peace talks broke down in 2010 over Palestinian objections to Israel expanding settlements on occupied land.

Reporting by Ali Sawafta; Editing by Mark Trevelyan

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