Israel kills four Palestinians in new clashes over Jerusalem's Al-Aqsa Mosque

Ahram Online , Sunday 23 Jul 2017

Israeli border guards attempt to disperse Palestinian Muslim worshippers outside Lions' Gate, a main entrance to the Al-Aqsa mosque compound in Jerusalem's Old City, on July 22, 2017 AFP

Four more Palestinians were killed in clashes with Israeli occupation forces in the West Bank on Saturday, according to the Palestinian ministry of health.

On Saturday evening, two Palestinians were killed in clashes with Israeli troops in Kobar in the occupied West Bank as the Israeli army moved into the village to demolish the family home of a Palestinian man they accuse of stabbing to death three Israeli settlers in the West Bank on Friday.

Another Palestinian, 17-year-old Oday Nawajaa, was killed by Israeli live-fire at Al-Azariya.

The health ministry said a fourth Palestinian was killed by Israelis in clashes, but the identity of the victim is yet to be announced.

The four deaths bring the Paletinian death toll in clashes with Israeli forces to six in the past 72 hours.

On Friday, three Palestinians aged between 17 and 20 were killed and more than 200 were injured when occupation forces attacked worshippers outside the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem following Friday prayers.

Hours following the Israeli attacks at the mosque on Friday, a 19-year-old Palestinian man, Omar Al-Abd, reportedly broke into a home in a Jewish settlement in the occupied West Bank and stabbed four Israelis, killing three. He was shot by a neighbour and taken to hospital.

Later, Israeli soldiers raided Al-Abd's home village of Kobar in the West Bank overnight and arrested his brother, the army said.

On Saturday, Palestinian youths hurled stones and petrol bombs as the army used a bulldozer to close off Kobar and prepare Al-Abd's home for demolition.

Israel routinely punishes the families of those accused of attacking Israelis, razing or sealing their homes in an act of collective punishment, which is deemed criminal under international law.

Israel's recent closure of the Al-Aqsa Mosque to Palestinians for Friday prayers was the first such move since Israel occupied East Jerusalem in 1967.

The closure of Al-Aqsa compound, as well as Israel's installation of metal detectors at its entrances earlier last week, triggered clashes in East Jerusalem and elsewhere in the West Bank as Palestinians continue to protest against Israeli efforts to Judaize the city they want as a capital for a future state.

At the Qalandiya checkpoint between the West Bank and Jerusalem, at least eight Palestinians were wounded in clashes on Saturday, the Palestinian health ministry said.

The UN Security Council is expected to hold closed-door talks on Monday about the spiralling violence after Egypt, France and Sweden sought a meeting to "urgently discuss how calls for de-escalation in Jerusalem can be supported."

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas announced late on Friday that he was freezing contacts with Israel.

On Friday, Egypt called on Israel to put an immediate stop to violence. He also demanded an end to escalated security measures against Palestinians in Jerusalem and in the vicinity of Al-Aqsa mosque, expressing "deep concern".

The United States, Russia, the European Union and the United Nations -- the so-called Middle East Quartet -- urged all sides to "demonstrate maximum restraint".

The Quartet members "strongly condemn acts of terror, express their regret for all loss of innocent life caused by the violence."

On Saturday, the metal detectors remained at the entrance to Jerusalem's walled Old City.

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