Protests in Jerusalem: Hundreds of Palestinians injured and three dead
Tensions high since early morning. The clashes exploded after prayers, triggered by the stun grenade launched by the police to separate demonstrators. The victims between 18 and 20. In the evening, a Palestinian stabbed tand killed three settlers because "there is no life after what I have seen at al-Aqsa".
Jerusalem (AsiaNews / Agencies) -Two Palestinians are dead and hundreds were injured during yesterday's clashes with Israeli police in Jerusalem and other parts of the West Bank. The tensions were sparked by the installation of a metal detector at the entrance to Temple Mount at the Gate of the Lions, where on July 14, three Palestinians opened fire against the police. Islamic religious leaders had invited the faithful not to go to Temple Mount in protest. Over the past few days, many of them gathered to pray just outside the walls.
The situation precipitated early morning: thousands of Palestinians went to Jerusalem, while Israel had 3,000 police units in the city and especially in the eastern area, mounting barricades at the Gate of the Lions, and forbidding men below 50 access to Old Town.
The clashes began in the afternoon with the launch of stun grenades and tear gas on demonstrators outside the Old Town, to which they responded with stones and other objects. The first two victims were shot by bullets in the neighborhoods of East Jerusalem and Ras al-Amud. The third died in Abu Dis, east of the city, in the Occupied Territories.
As reported by the Israeli daily Haaretz, the police were trying to divide the protest groups. At Wadi Joz, the Arabian East Jerusalem district, "it was hard to say whether even a single bottle of water had been launched on the officials before they began attacking demonstrators," the newspaper reports. "The stones, in any case, were only launched later." An Israeli soldier was filmed kicking a disarmed demonstrator while he was praying.
One of the victims was identified by sources from the Ma'an press agency as Muhammad Mahmoud Sharaf, 18 years old. The Palestinians have taken Sharaf's body, fearing that the Israeli authorities would confiscate it. The same happened with the second victim, Abu Ghanam, of 20: some Palestinians were filmed while passing the body over a wall around the al-Makassed hospital (video). Some local sources recognized the last victim as Muhammad Mahmoud Khalaf, 18 years old.
According to the Palestinian Red Crescent, 391 Palestinians were injured in Jerusalem and the West Bank. Most of them suffering tear gas inhalation, 38 were shot in Jerusalem with rubber bullets. 66, however, they were admitted to the West Bank hospital.
Despite the end of the clashes, tension is still high. In the evening, a Palestinian stabbed three Israeli settlers in the West Bank, in the Halamish settlement. The victims are a man and a woman in their sixties, and a man around forty. Another woman was hurt. Omar el-Abed, quoted on his facebook profile, said his actions are related to the events in Jerusalem: "I am 20 years old, I have many dreams, but there is no life after what I saw al-Aqsa." El-Abed was injured, but still alive and undergoing medical treatment.
Mahmoud Abbas, chairman of the Palestinian National Authority, has announced on television "the freezing of all relations with the occupying state" until the new security measures, due to yesterday's protests and fights, are removed. He has slammed what he sees as measures that have been "falsely presented as security measures to take control of the al-Aqsa mosque. "