More Israeli-Palestinian violence feared over holy site
July 22 2017 06:47 PM
Palestinian youths run from the path of an Israeli army bulldozer during clashes in the village of Kubar, west of Ramallah, on Saturday, as Israeli forces try to close the roads leading to the village.


Stabbings and clashes that left six people dead raised fears on Saturday of further Israeli-Palestinian violence as tensions mount over new security measures at a highly sensitive Jerusalem holy site.
Friday's violence -- a stabbing attack that killed three Israelis and clashes which left three Palestinians dead -- was among the most severe in recent years.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan denounced what he called "excessive use of force" by the Israeli security forces in the clashes over the Haram al-Sharif compound.
The site in Jerusalem's Old City that includes the revered Al-Aqsa mosque and Dome of the Rock has been a focal point for Palestinians.
In 2000, then Israeli opposition leader Ariel Sharon's visit to the compound helped ignite the second Palestinian intifada, or uprising, which lasted more than four years.
Tensions have risen throughout the past week because of new Israeli security measures at the compound following an attack nearby that killed two policemen on July 14.
The measures have included the installation of metal detectors at entrances to the site, which Palestinians reject since they view the move as Israel asserting further control over it.
Erdogan, who said he was speaking in his capacity as the current chairman of the summit of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, called the restrictions "unacceptable".
"I urge the international community to immediately take action to remove practices that restrict freedom of worship at Haram al-Sharif," he said.
Israeli authorities say the July 14 attackers smuggled guns into the holy site and emerged from it to shoot the policemen.
Friday's main weekly Muslim prayers -- which typically draw thousands to Al-Aqsa -- brought the situation to a boil.
In anticipation of protests, Israel barred men under 50 from entering the Old City for prayers, stoking further Palestinian anger.
Clashes broke out between Israeli security forces and Palestinians around the Old City, in other parts of annexed east Jerusalem, in the occupied West Bank and in the Gaza Strip.
Abbas freezes contacts  
Three Palestinians between the ages of 17 and 20 were shot dead. The Palestinian Red Crescent reported 450 people wounded in Jerusalem and the West Bank, including 170 from live or rubber bullets.
In the evening, a Palestinian broke into a home in a Jewish settlement in the West Bank during a Sabbath dinner and stabbed four Israelis, killing three of them.
The 19-year-old Palestinian was shot by a neighbour, an off-duty soldier, and was taken to hospital.
The Israeli army said he had spoken of the Jerusalem holy site and of dying as a martyr in a Facebook post.
The Israelis killed in Neve Tsuf, north of Ramallah and also known as Halamish, were a grandfather and two of his children, an Israeli military official said. The grandmother was wounded.
Israeli soldiers raided the Palestinian's nearby village of Kobar overnight and arrested his brother, an army spokeswoman said. 
Preparations were also being made to demolish the attacker's home, a measure Israel regularly employs because it views it as a deterrent, although human rights groups say it amounts to collective punishment.
Amid mounting pressure to respond to the dispute over the mosque compound, Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas announced late on Friday he was freezing contacts with Israel.
There was no immediate public reaction from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
On Saturday, entrances to Jerusalem's walled Old City were open, but heavy security was in place.
The metal detectors also remained at the entrance to the mosque compound.
"Al-Aqsa -- that's for the Muslims, not for the Jewish," said Mohammad Haroub, a 42-year-old souvenir shop owner.
Like hundreds of others, he prayed outside on Friday instead of passing through the metal detectors.
He added that it was not only an Israeli-Palestinian issue. 
"Al-Aqsa is not for Palestinians. It is for all Muslims."

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