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Palestinian critical after clash with Israeli army

A Palestinian student is in critical condition on Monday after being hit in the head by a tear gas canister when Israeli troops broke up a protest near Ramallah

AFP , Monday 5 Mar 2012
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Medics at Ramallah's main hospital said 20-year-old Mohammed Abu Awad was critical but stable after undergoing surgery for a head wound caused by a tear gas canister. Palestinian security sources said the student had been injured as Israeli troops broke up a demonstration of around 40 people at the Atara checkpoint, three miles (five kilometres) north of Ramallah.

Demonstrators said they were marking the two-year anniversary of the death of six members of a Palestinian family in a car crash with an Israeli military vehicle. The injured student was from the same family.

They were also rallying in solidarity with a Palestinian female prisoner on hunger strike, security sources and family members told AFP.

Imad Rashid, the surgeon who operated on the injured student, said Awad had a fractured skull and bleeding in the brain. "His situation will remain critical for the next 72 hours," he told reporters outside the hospital.

The Israeli military said troops had broken up a "violent and illegal riot" near Birzeit, close to Ramallah. "Palestinian demonstrators threw rocks at an IDF (army) post. Soldiers responded with riot dispersal means," a spokeswoman said, confirming that the army had received a complaint about a Palestinian who was injured at the scene.

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