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Israeli forces beat and tear gas Palestinian runners after East Jerusalem race

Israeli police confronted runners after a race between Sheikh Jarrah and Silwan with rubber-coated steel bullets, sound bombs and batons
Many of those in attendance were quick to post images and videos of the raid online (Screengrab/Twitter)

At least 23 people were reported to have sustained injuries following a crackdown by Israeli forces on participants in a race that took place in occupied East Jerusalem on Friday.

Runners had raced for 3.5km between the East Jerusalem neighbourhoods of Sheikh Jarrah and Silwan in solidarity with the scores of Palestinians facing forced expulsion from their homes in these areas.

All those who took part in the run wore white t-shirts inscribed with the number 7850, which activists say is the number of Palestinians under threat of forcible displacement in Jerusalem.

Participants of the run can be seen with the number 7850 on their backs
All those who took part in the race wore shirts with the number 7850 on the back (Screengrab/Twitter)

Both Silwan and Sheikh Jarrah have garnered widespread attention recently over the legal battle Palestinian residents have been waging to avoid losing their homes to Israeli settler groups.

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Israeli police raided the area by the finish line, where runners had been reportedly singing songs, drinking water, and resting their legs after the race.

Eyewitnesses said Israeli forces used sound bombs, tear gas, and rubber-coated steel bullets against the crowd.

Many people at the scene shared footage of the attack online. Mohammed El-Kurd, a prominent Palestinian activist from Sheikh Jarrah, uploaded a video showing Palestinians fleeing from tear gas.

Meanwhile, Jalal Abu Khater, who described himself as a runner who has taken part in marathons around the world, posted images on Twitter of the injuries he sustained on Friday.

The photographs show large red welts on his legs, which he said were so painful he struggled to walk hours after the attack.

In a later tweet, Abu Khater added: "They were beating me violently on my legs, my running legs, my everything."

Israeli forces have long been accused of intentionally disabling Palestinians, as well as engaging in a "shoot to cripple" campaign, including during Gaza's Great March of Return movement in 2018, in which Palestinian protesters' legs were targeted by snipers. 

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