Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 20 May 2019

Unrest at Jerusalem holy site and two Palestinians killed in West Bank

Palestinians threw a fire bomb at an Israeli police post at the Noble Sanctuary

Israeli police officers scuffle with Palestinian protestors outside the Lions gate to Jerusalem's Old City March 12, 2019. Reuters
Israeli police officers scuffle with Palestinian protestors outside the Lions gate to Jerusalem's Old City March 12, 2019. Reuters

Palestinians threw a fire bomb at an Israeli police post at a site revered by Jews and Muslims in Jerusalem on Tuesday, and Israeli forces shot dead two Palestinians in the occupied West Bank, including one troops said attacked them with a knife.

In the walled Old City of Jerusalem, Israeli police said a fire bomb damaged the police post inside a sacred compound revered by Muslims as the Noble Sanctuary and by Jews as the Temple Mount.

Scuffles broke out at the complex between Israeli police and Palestinians. No serious injuries or damage to holy sites were reported and police said two suspects were arrested.

Tensions in the holy compound in Jerusalem, part of the eastern sector of the city captured by Israel in a 1967 war, have risen in recent weeks after the site's Muslim administrators reopened a mosque sealed by Israel during a Palestinian uprising in 2003.

The UN Middle East envoy called for calm.

"I am following events at the holy esplanade in Jerusalem with concern. Places of worship are for prayer, not for provocations and violence. Restraint must be shown to avoid inflaming an already tense situation," Nickolay Mladenov said on Twitter.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas condemned what he called "the grave Israeli escalation" at the complex, which houses al-Aqsa mosque, Islam's third holiest site.

In the occupied West Bank, the military said a Palestinian, armed with a knife, had confronted troops in the city of Hebron and was shot and killed. It said no soldiers were injured.

The Palestinian higher judicial council said the 40-year-old man had worked in a Palestinian court in Hebron. It denounced the shooting as "a despicable crime".

In a separate incident in the West Bank, a 23-year-old Palestinian was shot dead when clashes broke out after Israeli troops entered the Palestinian town Salfit, residents and the Palestinian Health ministry said.

An Israeli army spokeswoman said soldiers had used riot-dispersal means, mainly tear gas, against dozens of Palestinians who threw stones at them and that the military did not know of any live fire being used. She provided no further details.

Palestinians began a wave of knife and car-ramming attacks in the West Bank and in Israel in 2015. Such incidents have become more sporadic.

Palestinians want an independent state in the West Bank and Gaza Strip with East Jerusalem as its capital, all lands seized by Israel in 1967.

Updated: March 13, 2019 08:20 AM

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