Palestinian boy seriously injured in clashes with IDF
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Palestinian boy seriously injured in clashes with IDF

US issues travel warning for citizens traveling to the West Bank as consequence of ongoing riots

Ilan Ben Zion, a reporter at the Associated Press, is a former news editor at The Times of Israel. He holds a Masters degree in Diplomacy from Tel Aviv University and an Honors Bachelors degree from the University of Toronto in Near and Middle Eastern Civilizations, Jewish Studies, and English.

A Palestinian protester uses a slingshot to hurl back a tear gas canister fired by Israeli security forces during clashes next to Ofer prison, near the West Bank city of Ramallah, on February 22, 2013. (photo credit: Issam Rimawi/Flash90)
A Palestinian protester uses a slingshot to hurl back a tear gas canister fired by Israeli security forces during clashes next to Ofer prison, near the West Bank city of Ramallah, on February 22, 2013. (photo credit: Issam Rimawi/Flash90)

A 13-year-old Palestinian boy was seriously injured Monday during clashes between protesters and IDF forces in a refugee camp near Bethlehem, Palestinian media reported.

The boy was evacuated to a hospital in Beit Jala in serious condition after suffering a gunshot wound to the chest, the Palestinian reports said. Earlier, two Palestinians were lightly injured in riots.

Israel had no immediate comment on the reports.

The United States on Monday warned citizens to limit travel to the West Bank in light of the ongoing protests taking place in Ramallah, Hebron and several other locations.

The US cautioned that it was temporarily limiting travel to the West Bank for its government personnel, and suspending travel altogether to the West Bank city of Bethlehem.

“US citizens are advised to defer non-essential travel to and within the West Bank and to exercise an extra measure of caution during this period. The US Consulate General takes this opportunity to remind US citizens that demonstrations, even peaceful ones, can turn violent with little or no warning. US citizens should be aware of their surroundings at all times, and avoid large crowds,” it said in an official warning.

Palestinian protests in the West Bank flared up on Sunday and Monday after a Palestinian detainee in an Israeli prison died from what Israeli officials said was cardiac arrest. The Palestinian Authority charged that Israel had tortured Arafat Jaradat to death.

Israel’s security forces braced for major demonstrations surrounding his funeral on Monday. But although there were numerous relatively low-level disturbances in the West Bank, the funeral itself passed without major incident.

Defense Minister Ehud Barak on Monday night held a situation assessment with senior defense officials at his Tel Aviv office. The officials, including IDF Chief of General Staff Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz and Israel Police Deputy Commissioner Yisrael Yitzhak, discussed strategies to quell the ongoing violence in the area.

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