Four bulldozers that had been uprooting Marda’s trees to make way for the “Ariel loop” of the Annexation Wall stopped working as soon as the villagers began their march, a major victory for the day. Mere minutes into the ascent upwards and only a few hundred meters up the slope, the group, consisting mainly of children, was fired on by Israeli soldiers with tear gas and sound bombs.
While a number of soldiers fired from the hill, other military vehicles made their way into the village. With soldiers in the village and on the hilltops surrounding it, Tear gas and sound bombs turned into rubber bullets, and the rubber bullets into live ammunition, reportedly fired in children’s direction. Soldiers shot tear gas towards the mosque and into a sewing factory where dozens of women were working. Four were taken to the hospital for gas inhalation.
Three Palestinians were injured by rubber bullets, one in the stomach, one in the leg, and one in the arm. One Palestinian’s thumb was broken when a tear gas canister hit his hand. One international was detained for several hours and taken to Ariel police station, but was later released.
The DCO later claimed that the Israeli army fired only one rubber bullet and no live ammunition, and that a Palestinian had been shooting a Kalachnikov rifle. Villagers and Israelis collected the bullets and casings, however, and they were clearly from M16s, the rifles that the military uses.
Israeli soldiers threatened to return later tonight.