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3 injured after armed clashes break out with PA security forces in

Sunday, October 30, 2016 14:17
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3 injured after armed clashes break out with PA security forces in Balata
refugee camp
Oct. 29, 2016 4:28 P.M. (Updated: Oct. 29, 2016 4:28 P.M.)

NABLUS (Ma’an) — Armed clashes broke out early Saturday morning between
Palestinian Authority (PA) security forces and residents of the Balata
refugee camp, just south of Nablus city in the northern occupied West Bank.

PA security forces had entered the camp “to arrest fugitives” when clashes
broke out with armed gunmen from the camp, according to PA security sources.

The sources told Ma’an that PA security was “determined to reach all
fugitives and bring them to justice,” without providing more details on why
the people wanted for arrest were considered as fugitives by the PA.

According to local sources, the clashes broke out around 2am, near the
camp’s cemetery.

Two young men from the camp were injured — one with shrapnel and another
with a baton strike to the head — while one PA security officer sustained
minor wounds.

All three were evacuated to nearby hospitals.

Locals added that most of the camp’s “fugitives” were hiding in the
al-Jamasin neighborhood of the camp, and that PA security forces were
deployed on several rooftops in the camp.

Both locals and PA security sources confirmed that machine guns and
“homemade explosive devices” were used against security forces.

Meanwhile, the Palestinian Football Federation decided on Saturday to
postpone a match between the Balata football team and the Wadi al-Neis team
from Bethlehem, seemingly in response to the clashes.

The match, which was supposed to have been played on Saturday, was postponed
until Monday.

Balata refugee camp has remained a site of violent clashes between
Palestinian security forces and residents of the camp since a massive
security crackdown was launched across the West Bank, which turned deadly in
August, after two policemen were killed during a raid into the Old City in
Nablus to uncover weapons and make arrests.

The ensuing manhunt for the gunmen responsible left three suspects killed by
Palestinian security forces, sparking international outrage over what the UN
deemed “extrajudicial executions” — particularly that of Ahmad Izz Halaweh,
the alleged “mastermind” behind the police shooting, who was beaten to death
in custody.

Last month Palestinian forces also shot dead an alleged Palestinian gunman
in Nablus, while three others were also injured. While Palestinian forces
had claimed the men opened fire on them, forcing them to respond, others
have claimed the four were unarmed at the time of the incident and were
surveilling the Palestinian police while they carried out a detention raid.

Amid the ongoing security crackdown, the PA has faced widespread criticism
over the unclear circumstances in which Palestinian fugitives have been
arrested and killed, with prisoners’ rights group Addameer saying that “no
exceptional circumstances whatsoever, whether a state of war or a threat of
war, internal political instability or any other public emergency, may be
invoked as a justification of torture.”

The crackdown also comes as Palestinian political factions have repeatedly
accused the Fatah-dominated PA of “escalating security collaboration” with
the Israeli authorities and “adopting a revolving door policy” funneling
Palestinians from PA jails into Israeli prisons.

The Israeli army’s central command said that the Palestinian security forces
were responsible for approximately 40 percent of all arrests of “suspected
terrorists,” Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported in May.

Meanwhile, the densely populated Balata refugee camp has historically shown
high levels of unemployment, overcrowded classrooms, and a lack of basic
services such as access to clean water and effective sewage systems,
according to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency.

The camp was established by the United Nations in 1950 to provide housing
and services to refugees resulting from the establishment of the state of
Israel in 1948, which forced more than 700,000 Palestinians to flee their


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