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HomeWorld NewsUnited States NewsEast Jerusalem: Clashes erupt amid holy site tensions

East Jerusalem: Clashes erupt amid holy site tensions

Israeli security forces arrest a Palestinian man following clashes outside Jerusalem's Old city, 21 July 2017Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Israeli police made arrests as the violence erupted

Dozens of Palestinians been injured in clashes with Israeli forces in East Jerusalem and the occupied West Bank amid friction over a Jerusalem holy site.

Water canon and tear gas were fired after rioters threw stones and other objects outside the walls of the Old City, police said.

A Palestinian youth was shot dead, but the circumstances are not yet clear.

Tensions have soared since two Israeli policemen were killed last Friday.

Three Israeli Arab gunmen killed the officers near the holy site known to Muslims as Haram al-Sharif and to Jews as the Temple Mount. The gunmen were shot dead after being pursued into the sacred compound.

Palestinian factions had called for a “day of rage” on Friday in protest at the installation by Israel of metal detectors at the entrance to the site.

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Media captionThe Jerusalem holy site security row explained

Palestinian and Islamic leaders have fiercely objected to the measure, saying it is a violation of the status quo.

Israel says it is a necessary for security after the weapons used to kill the policemen were smuggled into the holy site.

The area, in East Jerusalem, has been under Israeli occupation since the 1967 Middle East war.

Israel has repeatedly pledged to maintain the status quo – a delicate set of arrangements in place at the site for the past 50 years. Any changes there are often regarded by Palestinians, who claim East Jerusalem as the capital of a sought-after state, as a violation of these arrangements.

Thousands of police were deployed around the compound on Friday morning, and Palestinian men under the age of 50 were barred from entering the Old City – a measure which is sometimes taken to try to prevent violent protests at the holy site.

Police said they fired tear gas to disperse Palestinians who threw stones and tried to break through a police barricade in the street outside.

The Palestinian health ministry said a 17-year-old Palestinian man had been shot dead in a neighbourhood near the Old City. However, it did not specify who was behind the shooting in the Ras al-Amud area.

Clashes also erupted in other parts of East Jerusalem, at the Qalandia checkpoint between Ramallah and Jerusalem, and at the northern entrance of Bethlehem.

The Red Crescent said more the 60 Palestinians had been hurt, with 31 taken to hospital.

There have been nightly clashes in the city since the metal detectors were introduced last weekend.

Palestinians had refused to enter the Haram al-Sharif/Temple Mount – home to the al-Aqsa mosque and Dome of the Rock – unless they were removed, holding prayers outside instead.

On Friday though, a number of worshippers went into the site to pray.

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