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Children Tear Gassed as School Year Begins

Children Tear Gassed as School Year Begins

Israeli forces fired 15 tear gas grenades and canisters, as well as five stun grenades, at children as they waited to go to school yesterday morning in Hebron. Children in the West Bank have begun their new school year, while children in Gaza have so far been unable to return.

A Red Crescent ambulance was called as two teachers and two children, aged 10 and 12-years-old, required medical treatment for excessive tear gas inhalation.

A British International Solidarity Movement (ISM) volunteer, Ally Cohen, who was present at the checkpoint stated, “I was standing with my fellow ISM’er next to two young boys who were both under six-years-old. We saw a few teenagers run towards the checkpoint and throw stones; they then ran away very quickly. The soldiers then threw two stun grenades very close to us. We tried to comfort the two young boys when they [the stun grenades] exploded, but what could we say? They were both terrified. We walked with them down closer to their school and they began to run. At that moment, a tear gas grenade was fired and there were no children throwing stones. The smoke was thick and I began choking, it felt like I couldn’t breathe. I can’t imagine what this sensation would have been like for a child, and there were so many present. From there the situation just seemed to get worse, with so much tear gas in the air, children were unable to reach their schools.”

One young boy spoke to an ISM volunteer, with his eyes still red from tear gas, he pointed towards the checkpoint and said, “The soldiers from Gaza are here!”

Watch the video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QdhDVxHbDg8

International activists monitor the checkpoints the children are forced to pass through on their way to school, both to document the events and to stand with the children. Israeli forces’ firing military weapons at children is unfortunately common. Between May and June, the last month of the school year, ISM documented 11 tear gas grenades and 13 stun grenades used against schoolchildren in al-Khalil, some as young as 4-years-old.

ENDS


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