Protests have given way to clashes between Israeli forces and Palestinians in areas across the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip as at least four Palestinians were killed and dozens others injured while marking a “Day of Rage”, which was called for by Hamas and Islamic Jihad.
In Gaza, Israeli forces killed two Palestinians during Friday’s clashes, while two others were fatally shot in the West Bank.
The clashes came as hundreds of residents marched in Gaza City in solidarity with their compatriots in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem.
Israeli forces fatally shot 19-year-old Ehab Hanani during clashes in Beit Furik, a village on the outskirts of Nablus, on Thursday evening.
Earlier in the day, near Kiryat Arba, a Jewish-only settlement in the Hebron area of the West Bank, an Israeli soldier was injured by an alleged Palestinian attacker “disguised as [a] news photographer”, an army spokesperson said on Twitter on Friday afternoon.
The suspect was shot dead on the scene.
Since the beginning of the month, at least 37 Palestinians – including people accused of attacks, as well as unarmed protesters and bystanders – and seven Israelis have been killed.
Protests against Israel’s ongoing occupation of the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip have increased in frequency, while Israeli forces have responded with force, using tear gas, rubber-coated steel bullets and live ammunition against demonstrators.
In East Jerusalem, Israeli police extended a ban on Palestinian men under the age of 40 from entering the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound – the third holiest site for Muslims.
Thousands of Israeli security officers have been deployed across the country and Palestinian neighbourhoods in Jerusalem have been sealed off by checkpoints and road blocks.
“The situation in Jerusalem has been very tense,” Nur Arafeh, a research fellow at the Al-Shabaka policy network, told Al Jazeera. “Palestinians are feeling insecure amidst the unrest, the sealing-off of the city, and the growing Israeli measures of collective punishment.”
“Meanwhile, Israeli settlers, abetted by Israeli police forces, are rampant, making incursions into the Al-Aqsa Mosque, and attacking Palestinians and their property,” she said, referring to an uptick in settler attacks.