Two Palestinian Arabs were allegedly killed by rubber bullets fired by Israeli soldiers during a riot held near a jail north of Jerusalem on Thursday, according to initial unverified Palestinian media reports.
One of the victims, a 17-year-old, died from live rounds fired by soldiers, an unidentified Palestinian source told Israel’s Yediot Ahronot.
The Israel Defense Forces said they were investigating the reports of the deaths, Israel Radio said.
The violence took place against a backdrop of “Nakba” (Catastrophe) Day events held throughout the West Bank to protest Israel’s creation in 1948.
The clash erupted between some 50 Palestinian rioters and troops near Ofer Prison, close to Ramallah. Palestinians said several of the demonstrators were hurt and that several suffered from inhalation of tear gas, used to disperse the crowds.
In clashes elsewhere in the greater Jerusalem area and around the Old City, five Israeli policemen were wounded by Arab stone throwers.
Several hundred flag-waving Palestinians gathered under a heavy police forces presence at a demonstration held at the Old City’s Damascus Gate.
Earlier, some 2,000 Palestinians gathered in Ramallah’s Manara Square, and public sirens wailed for 66 seconds to mark Israel’s just-held anniversary.
Palestinians held rallies in West Bank cities and towns as part of the event. Some Israeli residents of Jewish communities in the Ramallah vicinity said they heard the sirens.
While Hamas officials took part in the main event, few flags of the Gaza-based terrorist group were seen, according to Hebrew media reports.
Israeli officials said security forces had readied for possible riots or other disturbances, after consulting with Palestinian Authority counterparts on Wednesday.