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Jerusalem clashes leave three Palestinians dead

Jerusalem clashes leave three Palestinians dead

JERUSALEM: Three Palestinians were killed as clashes erupted between protesters and Israeli forces near the Al Aqsa mosque after police restricted access for Friday prayers.

The Palestinian Red Crescent reported that 109 people were wounded, of whom 38 were taken to hospital.

One Palestinian was shot dead by Israeli gunfire in the Al Tur neighbourhood of east Jerusalem, according to the Palestinian health ministry.

Israeli police restrict access to Al Aqsa mosque for Friday prayers

Another Palestinian was killed by gunfire in Jerusalem’s Ras al Amud neighbourhood, while a third was shot dead in Abu Dis, in the occupied West Bank, the ministry said.

Israel’s army confirmed it was involved in clashes in Abu Dis.

The unrest came after Israeli ministers decided not to order the removal of metal detectors erected at entrances to the Haram al Sharif compound following an attack nearby a week ago that killed two policemen.

In anticipation of protests on Friday, Israeli police barred men under 50 from entering Jerusalem’s old quarter for prayers, while all women were allowed in.

Police said later in the day that discretion could be applied in the use of metal detectors instead of forcing everyone to go through them.

But Palestinian and religious leaders were still calling on worshippers not to enter until they were removed.

Hundreds held Friday prayers near the gates of the old quarter in protest.

According to police, a large number of people entered the compound.

Crowds gathered outside Jerusalem’s old quarter found shops closed and streets around Damascus Gate -- the entrance most heavily used by Palestinians -- blocked.

A group of several hundred people, including Muslim leaders, marched towards the Lions Gate entrance to the mosque compound, but police informed them that only men aged 50 or over would be allowed in.

Police later fired stun grenades and tear gas towards protesters outside the old quarter, while Palestinians threw stones and other objects at Israeli forces in some areas.

Published in Dawn, July 22nd, 2017

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