Jerusalem tense amid house demolitions

Clashes between Palestinians and Israeli security forces erupt as families of slain attackers receive police notices.

Israeli security forces have fired tear gas at protesters in occupied East Jerusalem as tensions remain high over home demolitions ordered by the Israeli prime minister after a deadly attack by two Palestinians on a synagogue earlier this week.

Palestinian youths on Friday threw stones at lorries and cars waiting to cross a roadblock as Israeli police handed home demolition notices to the families of two of the people responsible for Tuesday’s attack on the Kehilat Bnai Torah synagogue in West Jerusalem.

Israel orders demolition of attackers’ homes

Al Jazeera sources said at least 12 people had been injured in clashes with police near Abu Dis, on the outskirts of Jerusalem.

Heavy clashes were also reported in Jabal al-Mukaber, southeast of Jerusalem, but casualty figures are unknown.

The violence came a day after Israeli security personnel destroyed a home in East Jerusalem for the first time in five years.

Although the tactic has caused much controversy and debate over its effectiveness, Benjamin Netanyahu, Israeli prime minister, has stepped up the demolition orders in what he calls an effort to halt the violence.

Said Abu Jamal, a cousin of the two synagogue attackers, said police summoned their families on Thursday and issued the demolition orders.

The two Palestinian cousins from East Jerusalem – Ghassan and Oday Abu Jamal – killed four worshippers and a Druze Arab policeman with meat cleavers and gunfire before they were killed.

A funeral tent set up for one of the attackers was stormed by Israeli forces.

Adnan Husseini, the Palestinian Authority minister for Jerusalem affairs, said the families of two other Palestinian attackers – Ibrahim al-Akari and Moataz Hijazi – received similar notices on Thursday.

An Israeli police spokesman said he was checking the report.

Al-Akari was shot by security forces after killing two Israelis earlier this month, when he drove his car into a Jerusalem light rail station.

Israeli police also killed Hijazi after he shot and seriously wounded an Israeli activist who has lobbied for greater Jewish access to a sensitive Jerusalem religious site in October.

Eleven people have died in five separate incidents in recent weeks, most of them in Jerusalem, but also in Tel Aviv and the occupied West Bank.

At least five Palestinians involved in the attacks have been killed.

The violence has taken place against the background of tensions over access to Jerusalem’s most sacred Islamic site, al-Aqsa Mosque compound or Haram al-Sharif, known to Jews as the Temple Mount.

Palestinians fear that Israel wants to allow Jews to pray there, breaking a status quo in effect since 1967.

Netanyahu and other Israeli leaders have repeatedly denied the claim but nationalistic politicians have increasingly stirred tensions by visiting the site.

Source: Al Jazeera, News Agencies