Friday 15 November 2019

Fears of full-scale Palestinian uprising heightens as violence spreads to Gaza

A Palestinian protester hurls stones at Israeli soldiers during clashes at the Israeli border. (AP)
A Palestinian protester hurls stones at Israeli soldiers during clashes at the Israeli border. (AP)

Maayan Lubell

Israeli security forces shot dead two Palestinians in East Jerusalem on Saturday, one of whom had stabbed two Israelis, police said, in a further wave of violence that has raised concerns about a new Palestinian uprising.

Police said two ultra-Orthodox Jewish men were wounded in the knife attack by a 16-year-old Palestinian near Jerusalem's walled Old City.

Earlier, paramilitary police shot dead a militant who had opened fire at them during late-night clashes at the Palestinian Shuafat refugee camp, police said.

Hamas, the Islamist Palestinian militant group which controls the Gaza Strip, said in a statement that the Shuafat shooter was one of its members.

Read More: Hamas leader calls for third intifada as violence spirals

"The hero martyr fought the Israeli occupation with language they understand," Hamas said.

Tensions have surged in 11 days of violence in which four Israelis and 17 Palestinians - including several Palestinians shot by police, have been killed in Jerusalem, the Israeli-occupied West Bank, Gaza and in Israeli cities.

Scores of Palestinians have been injured in clashes with Israeli troops and at least 12 Israelis have been wounded in almost daily Palestinian stabbing attacks.

The violence has been fuelled by Palestinian fears that visits by Jewish groups, including lawmakers, to the Jerusalem Old City plaza revered in Judaism as the site of two destroyed biblical temples are eroding Muslim religious control of the al-Aqsa mosque compound, Islam's third holiest shrine.

Read More: Israeli forces kill screwdriver attacker as fears grow of full-scale uprising

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said repeatedly he will not allow any change to the arrangements under which Jews are allowed to visit the site but non-Muslim prayer is banned.

His assurances over conditions at the site, known as Temple Mount to Jews and Noble Sanctuary to Muslims, have done little to quell alarm among Muslims across the region.

On Friday Israeli soldiers shot dead seven Palestinians in protests near the Gaza border and a knife-wielding Israeli wounded four Arabs in the southern Israeli town of Dimona.

In the northern town of Afula, an Israeli-Arab woman was shot several times and wounded by police who closed in on her as she held up a knife.

Police said she had tried to stab a bus station guard.

Read More: More attacks as Israeli-Palestinian violence continues

In Jerusalem's Old City, a Palestinian stabbed and wounded a 14-year-old Jewish boy, and near a Jewish settlement in the West Bank city of Hebron, a Palestinian stabbed an Israeli policeman before being shot dead.

There was also violence in the West Bank city of Ramallah, with video footage showing an Israeli army jeep running over a stone-throwing Palestinian, who was injured.

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