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A 16-year-old Palestinian was killed yesterday near Nablus when Israeli soldiers fired rubber-coated bullets on demonstrators as riots continued throughout the West Bank. Another youth was critically injured in the same incident.

The clash occurred near the village of Iraq Burin, south of Nablus. Villagers own land that borders the nearby settlement of Bracha. In recent weeks demonstrations have taken place in the area by villagers, who have also pelted soldiers with stones.

A similar altercation took place yesterday around noon. Palestinian sources say settlers from Bracha tried to attack villagers. Sources in the Israel Defense Forces, however, say no settlers were present. They say the IDF force tried to prevent Palestinians from advancing toward the settlement.

In an effort to disperse the Palestinian demonstrators, soldiers fired rubber-coated bullets, and 16-year-old Ibrahim Abd al-Khader Kadus was hit in the heart. He was taken to the hospital in Nablus, where his death was confirmed by medical staff.

Oseyd Abd al-Nasser Kadus, also 16, was hit in the midriff by a rubber-coated bullet and was taken to the hospital in Nablus. His condition was described as critical.

The head of the local village council, Abd al-Rahim Kadus, told Haaretz that every Saturday settlers come to the village, attack the locals and destroy property, leading to clashes with the Palestinians.

Israeli troops usually intervene to break up the fighting, which then turns into a confrontation between young villagers and the soldiers.

The Palestinians maintain that the two teenagers were hit by live ammunition and that the soldiers prevented Palestinian medical staff from evacuating them. In the end the two teenagers were rushed to the hospital in private cars.

The IDF began an investigation into the incident, which marked the first killing of a Palestinian in months. Army sources told Haaretz that the Palestinians' claims that live rounds were fired is false.

The human rights group B'Tselem, which sent an investigator to the hospital in Nablus, said that both casualties were the result of live rounds.

Disturbances began Thursday in East Jerusalem at the entrance to the neighborhood of Isawiyah and the Shoafat refugee camp. A total of 21 Palestinians were arrested for stone-throwing, six of whom were minors.

Trouble in Shoafat continued throughout the weekend. Palestinians reported yesterday that settlers had set cars ablaze in the neighborhoods of Ras al-Amud and Wadi Joz.

In Bil'in and Na'alin, demonstrators ignored the Central Command order declaring the areas closed military zones on Fridays and gathered for the weekly protest after midday prayers.

Nir Hasson and Liel Kyzer contributed reporting.