Four Palestinians Injured During Clashes with Police in Jerusalem
Four Palestinians were injured Friday in clashes with Israeli police, who fired rubber bullets and stun grenades at protesters following prayers at a holy site in occupied east Jerusalem, witnesses and Israeli army radio said.
An AFP correspondent at the scene saw one Palestinian suffering from a head wound.
Dozens of Palestinian teenagers hurled stones at Israeli police, who then threw stun grenades in their direction.
The teenagers fled toward the city's Lion Gates, hotly pursued by the police.
Unrest then broke out in adjacent alleys near the al-Aqsa mosque compound, with police firing rubber bullets at protesters.
Two ambulances arrived on the scene.
Police were on high alert to deal with unrest in the area on the second day of weekly prayers of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, after deciding to maintain a ban on Muslims from the West Bank from entering the city.
Some 3,000 policemen were deployed in east Jerusalem -- in the Old City and at al-Aqsa.
Palestinians have designated Fridays as a standing "day of rage" during the their intifida, or uprising, against Israel, which is now in its 11th week.
On Thursday, the Israeli government extended a ban on Muslims from the West Bank entering occupied east Jerusalem to pray at the al-Aqsa mosque compound, the third holiest site in Islam.
"The citizens of the West Bank cannot come to Jerusalem tomorrow," a spokesman for the Jerusalem police told AFP, without elaborating.
That drew an angry reaction from leading Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erakat, who complained that the Israeli restrictions prevented both Muslims and Christians from visiting Jerusalem to pray at its holy sites.
Only Jerusalem residents and Muslims with Israeli citizenship are permitted to enter the mosque compound.
Earlier this week, the National and Islamic forces -- a loose grouping of 13 Palestinian factions including Fateh, Hamas and Islamic Jihad -- called on Palestinians "to escalate their Intifada" uprising this weekend. This would mark the anniversary of the beginning of the last major Intifada against Israel, which ran from 1987 to 1993.
Last week, 3,000 police were also deployed in east Jerusalem, and thousands of Muslims poured into the mosque in a pilgrimage that went off peacefully. But thousands of other worshippers from the West Bank were prevented from reaching the city -- JERUSALEM (AFP)
© 2000 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)