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Israeli snipers using new ammunition in Ni’lin

On Friday the 9th of January at 11.30am the weekly prayer demonstration was carried out in Ni’lin. Approximately 100 citizens of Ni’lin together with international and Israeli human right activists took part in the demonstration. During the demonstration the Israeli army used snipers to shoot the new ‘0.22’ caliber bullet, injuring two people.

The army was already present at three different spots close to the clinic long before the prayer had started. After the prayer the demonstrators marched from the clinic towards the construction site of the Apartheid Wall. Even before the demonstrators entered the olive fields the army shot both the old type of tear gas canister and the new type which is much heavier and explodes on impact making it impossible to see. They also shot rubber-coated steel bullets. The demonstration was held back with much tear gas and so remained at the site of the clinic throughout the whole demonstration. There were many more soldiers and border police than usual.

The army was more dispersed and came very close to the clinic. They had snipers using 0.22 calibre bullets as well as border police firing the new type of gas canister from close range. Three people were shot with the 0.22 calibre, one international was hit in the foot, another broke a lower leg bone and the other was shot through the outer thigh. Two were taken to Sheikh Zaid hospital in Ramallah, neither injury was severe, and both men returned to their homes that evening. Another was shot in the hand by the new gas canister and 8 more were hit by rubber coated steel bullets. Many others suffered asphyxiation by tear gas. The teargas was also fired far into the village away from any demonstrators effecting people in their homes. Firing teargas far into the village risks hitting people in the streets, entering homes and increasing the chance of children being injured.

The protest ended at sunset around 5.00 pm.  The people of Ni’lin have been demonstrating against the illegal Apartheid Wall since May 2008.