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RAMLLAH: Palestinian officials said Israeli troops killed a man on Wednesday as clashes broke out after a West Bank march commemorating the mass displacement of Palestinians in the “Nakba” of 1948.
“A young man was killed by occupation bullets at the northern entrance of the city of Al-Bireh,” an Israeli checkpoint at the outskirts of Ramallah, the Palestinian health ministry said.
The Israeli army did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The official Palestinian news agency Wafa said the man killed was 20-year-old Ayser Muhammad Safi, a student at Birzeit University, reporting that he was shot in the neck during a confrontation between a group of young men and Israeli forces.
Witnesses on site told AFP they had seen a group of male students from Birzeit University gather a short distance from the Al-Bireh entrance, where they were preparing to begin protesting when Israeli troops moved in.
During the confrontation, Israeli forces fired some kind of gas and sound grenades at the protesters, Wafa reported.
After the confrontation, AFP saw the body of a young man, his head in bloody bandages and his body wrapped in a blue sheet, being carried from a Ramallah hospital to the nearby morgue, as dozens of people crowded around.
Amid chants of “Allahu Akbar” (God is Greatest), many women in tears screamed out as his body passed by, and one young woman fainted.
Birzeit University immediately released a picture of the young man against the backdrop of a Palestinian flag and a message saying his family, the university administration, staff and students “mourn with great pride and honor its martyr” Safi, a student at the physical education department.
Wednesday’s clash happened shortly after the annual march in Ramallah commemorating the 76th anniversary of what Palestinians consider the “Nakba,” or catastrophe, when around 760,000 Palestinians fled or were driven from their homes during the war that led to Israel’s creation.
Against the backdrop of the ongoing war raging in Gaza, Israel has carried out near daily raids in the West Bank in what it says is a bid to thwart militant groups.
At least 499 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli soldiers and settlers in the territory since October 7, according to the Palestinian health ministry in Ramallah.
According to the Shin Bet internal security agency, at least 20 Israelis have been killed in Palestinian attacks over the same period.
The West Bank, occupied by Israel since 1967, is home to about 490,000 Israeli settlers who live in communities considered illegal under international law.

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