UPDATED: Israel boosts security after deadly West Bank clashes

AFP , Friday 25 Jul 2014

East Jerusalem
Israeli police stand guard as Palestinians pray on the third Friday of the holy month of Ramadan in the Arab east Jerusalem neighbourhood of Ras al-Amud July 18, 2014 (Photo: Reuters)

Israeli security forces were on heightened alert Friday after a Palestinian man was shot dead during a huge protest in the West Bank against Israel's military offensive in Gaza.

Palestinian factions in the West Bank declared a "Day of Rage" after Thursday night's clashes around the West Bank and in some sectors of Israeli-annexed east Jerusalem.

Police said that because of fears of violence over the deadly Gaza campaign, they would bar men under 50 from Jerusalem's flashpoint Al-Aqsa mosque for what are usually packed prayers on the last Friday of the Muslim holy fasting month of Ramadan.

"Different units have been mobilised in and around the Old City" of Jerusalem, police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld told AFP on Friday.

"We're prepared to deal with any disturbances."

Outside the Old City in east Jerusalem on Friday, demonstrators clashed with police before being dispersed, an AFP correspondent said. Police said one person was arrested and none wounded.

In the southern West Bank city of Hebron, nearly 1,000 Palestinians were protesting against Israel's Gaza offensive, an AFP correspondent said, with a similar demonstration taking place in nearby Halhul.

Palestinian security and medical officials named the man killed on Thursday as Mohammed Al-Aaraj, 25, and said he was among at least 10,000 people who clashed with soldiers and border police in Qalandia, between Jerusalem and Ramallah.

They said 150 people were wounded by Israeli fire, five critically. Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas has appealed for blood donors.

The army told AFP that live fire was used in a confrontation with protesters after rocks, firecrackers and petrol bombs were thrown at soldiers and border police.

Clashes in Qalandia ended early on Friday.

Israeli public radio said Palestinians and troops also clashed around the West Bank cities of Nablus, Hebron, Bethlehem and Tulkarem.

The confrontations came on Laylat al-Qadr, or Night of Destiny, when Muslims pray through the night as Ramadan nears its end.

* This story was edited by Ahram Online. 

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