Palestinian killed and hundreds injured in West Bank

Teenager shot dead as clashes with army and settlers continue after Palestinians barred from Jerusalem’s Old City.

A teenager has been killed and more than 200 Palestinians injured as clashes with Israeli forces and settlers continued in the occupied West Bank.

The violence followed Israel’s decision to bar Palestinians from accessing Jerusalem’s Old City unless they were residents, a move Hamas called “racist and illegal”.

Israeli forces used live ammunition and rubber-coated steel bullets against Palestinian protesters during Sunday’s clashes, the Palestinian Red Crescent Society (PRCS) said.

Huthaifa Suleiman, an 18-year-old Palestinian who was shot by Israeli forces during clashes at the Tulkarm checkpoint for throwing fire bombs, later died of his wounds.

The PRCS said almost 400 people have been injured, including 150 suffering from bullet wounds.

More than 200 have been treated for the effects of tear gas, it said.

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Clashes took place in areas including Jenin in the occupied West Bank and the East Jerusalem neighbourhood of Issawiya.

The PRCS has declared a state of emergency in the West Bank and East Jerusalem in response to what it said were “attacks by occupation forces and settlers”.

Ambulances operated by the organisation were attacked by Israeli soldiers on Friday and Sunday, and five of its paramedics have been assaulted by troops, the PRCS said in a statement released on its website on Sunday.

“[The] PRCS underlines that these practices constitute a blatant violation of key IHL [international humanitarian law] provisions, mainly the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949 on the protection of civilians in time of war,” the statement read.

Meanwhile, Israeli local media reported that a 30-year-old Israeli was stabbed by two masked men in the southern Israeli port and resort town of Eilat early on Monday. 

The Israeli army also said in a statement that rockets fired from the besieged Gaza Strip had hit southern Israel, with no injuries reported.

Israel said it had launched an air strike targeting northern Gaza in response.

Funerals of stabbing victims

As clashes continued, thousands of people attended the funerals of two Israelis stabbed to death on Saturday by a Palestinian man in Jerusalem’s Old City.

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The wife of one of the victims was seriously wounded in the attack while their two-year-old child sustained light injuries.

Israel’s President Reuven Rivlin urged Israelis in his eulogy on Sunday not to be afraid to visit the Western Wall, where Jews pray, close to where the attack took place.

In a separate incident early on Sunday, a Palestinian stabbed and wounded a passer-by in West Jerusalem, before being shot dead by police while fleeing.

Israeli TV showed footage of the alleged assailant walking along the city’s light rail tracks as bystanders screamed, “Shoot him!”

In the video, a police car arrives on the scene, multiple gunshots are heard, and the attacker is then seen lying on the ground.

An Israeli couple were killed on Thursday when they were shot in their car in front of their four children in a West Bank attack allegedly carried out by a Palestinian.

‘Sharpen our measures’

The violence has raised fears of further military action by Israel.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu held consultations with his security chiefs on Sunday, and his security cabinet is also to meet on Monday.

Israeli Intelligence Minister Israel Katz threatened to launch new military operations against Palestinians, telling Israel’s military broadcaster the country would “sharpen” the measures it took.

Israel has banned West Bank Palestinians from entering Jerusalem’s Old City for the next two days. 

The restrictions on the Old City in the occupied East Jerusalem only allow access to Israelis, tourists, residents of the area, business owners, and students, police said. 

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Worship at the sensitive al-Aqsa Mosque compound will be restricted to Old City residents and Palestinian Israelis, and limited to men aged 50 and above.

The latest violence comes amid high tensions in Jerusalem after clashes between police and Palestinians at the compound – Islam’s third holiest site.

The US state department condemned the violence on Saturday, with spokesman John Kirby calling “on all sides to take affirmative steps to restore calm and avoid escalating the situation”.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Sunday warned of a dangerous escalation in Jerusalem and the West Bank following the attacks and appealed for calm.

In a statement on Sunday, Ban “urged all leaders to condemn violence and incitement, maintain calm and to do everything they can to avoid further escalation”.

Palestinian Red Crescent accused Israeli forces of using live ammunition and rubber-coated steel bullets against Palestinian protesters [AP]
Palestinian Red Crescent accused Israeli forces of using live ammunition and rubber-coated steel bullets against Palestinian protesters [AP]
Source: News Agencies