Clashes after Israel closes Palestinian school

Clashes after Israel closes Palestinian school
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A child walks in front of a mural painting depicting the late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat on her way to a school run by United Nations Agency for Palestinian Refugees (UNRWA) in Balata refugee camp, east of Nablus in the occupied West Bank on August 29, 2018, on the first day of classes after the summer holidays. US President Donald Trump cut of more than $200 million in aid for Gaza and the West Bank this month after earlier freezing of $300 million in annual funding for the UNRWA. / AFP PHOTO / Jaafar ASHTIYEH

Nablus: Clashes broke out in the occupied West Bank on Monday after Israeli forces ordered the closure of a Palestinian school, AFP correspondents said.

The Israeli army said the school had been the source of months of violence, with stones thrown at a nearby major road used by its forces and Israeli settlers.

The school serves the Palestinian villages of As-Sawiya and Al-Lubban south of Nablus and is located on a main road through the West Bank.

The Israeli army on Sunday issued an order for the school to be closed, but students tried to enter on Monday morning alongside some officials, AFP journalists said.

Israeli soldiers and border police fired tear gas at protesters, including into the school premises.

Four people were hit by rubber bullets, the Palestinian Red Crescent said, with a number of others affected by tear gas.

AFP photographer Jaafar Ashtiyeh was injured in the clashes.

Samer Ewass, a village official, said they were protesting the Israeli decision.

“We reject this decision,” he said.

“These children have a right to education, they have a right to sit in school like any child in any country.”

The Israeli army said the school “been the site of popular terror acts and riots” in recent months.

“In response to the large number of popular terror acts endangering Israeli and Palestinian civilians driving on the road… the area of the school was declared a closed military zone.”

Israel seized control of the West Bank in a 1967 war and 400,000 of its residents live in settlements there, in communities considered illegal by the international community.