Israeli soldiers fire live ammunition at civilian crowd in Bethlehem

The Israeli forces have used live ammunition against a demonstration in Bethlehem, following afternoon prayers on Friday injuring a number of protesters, reported the New Arab.

Israeli troops have injured at least a dozen Palestinian protesters in Bethlehem after live rounds were fired into a crowd following afternoon prayers on Friday.

Soldiers fired tear gas canisters and stun grenades while the Palestinian Red Crescent reported that live ammunition was also fired at the crowd.

Military reinforcements were sent to the area surrounding Rachel’s Tomb in the north of the city shortly after 2pm [12pm BST].

An armored water-cannon fired “skunk water” at the crowd, a foul-smelling liquid said to smell “like a mixture of excrement, noxious gas and a decomposing donkey”.

Several protesters were treated for suffocation, following excessive exposure to tear gas.

There has been a heightened tension in Bethlehem in recent days, after Israeli security forces launched several dawn raids on Palestinian homes inside the city and a local refugee camp.

The Israeli authorities are currently on high alert as a series of protests over new security measures at the al-Aqsa Mosque compound has escalated into a series of violent protests across the West Bank.

Thousands of Palestinians took to the streets of Jerusalem on Thursday evening before entering the al-Aqsa Mosque for the first time in almost two weeks.

Israeli forces later evicted the large crowd gathering in the mosque, citing security fears.

A video of the event showed the use of stun grenades and violent scuffles with worshippers inside one of the holiest sites in the Islamic tradition.