RAMALLAH, West Bank (AP) — Israeli troops shot dead two Palestinian teens in a West Bank clash that erupted Thursday after Palestinians marked their uprooting during the Mideast war over Israel's 1948 creation, a doctor said.
Three Palestinians were wounded, one seriously, when Israeli troops fired to disperse stone throwers near an Israeli military checkpoint in the West Bank, said Dr. Samir Saliba, head of the emergency department at Ramallah Hospital.
Saliba said those killed were 15 and 17 years old and were shot by live rounds in the chest area. The seriously wounded protester was also shot in the upper body, he said.
Israeli police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said troops broke up a "disturbance" in the area, but did not use live fire.
The clash came just hours after Palestinians marched in the West Bank and Gaza Strip to commemorate their displacement in the Mideast war over Israel's 1948 creation.
Sirens wailed at noon in Ramallah and elsewhere in the West Bank for 66 seconds to symbolize the number of years since the "Nakba," or "catastrophe" in Arabic — the term Palestinians use to describe their displacement.
Israel defeated the armies of surrounding Arab states that had attacked after the Jewish state was declared in 1948.
More than 700,000 Palestinians fled or were forced out during the fighting, according to the United Nations. Many of the refugees and their descendants still live in the West Bank, Gaza and neighboring Syria, Lebanon and Jordan. More than 5 million Palestinians are registered with the U.N. as refugees.
Every May 15, Palestinians hold rallies to commemorate the event — and the dispute over the fate of the Palestinian refugees remains at the core of the Arab-Israeli conflict.
It's also a key issue in peace talks with Israel, though those talks have produced no results. The latest U.S. brokered peace talks between the sides aimed at establishing a Palestinian state alongside Israel collapsed last month.