At least 26 Palestinians were wounded by Israeli soldiers who fired rubber bullets on stone-throwing demonstrators in separate incidents in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip on Sunday, witnesses said.
It was the fourth day of clashes sparked Thursday by a visit by Israeli opposition leader Ariel Sharon to the al-Aqsa mosque compound in disputed Jerusalem, a site held sacred by both Jews and Muslims.
Three Palestinians were injured in clashes with the Israeli army near the Jewish settlement of Netzarim in the central Gaza Strip and another seven in similar incidents in Rafah near the border with Egypt, witnesses said.
The fighting broke out as the funerals were taking place of two Palestinians who were among 16 killed on Saturday when violence exploded across the territories.
In the West Bank, seven Palestinians were lightly wounded when stone-throwing demonstrators clashed with Israeli security forces in the divided town of Hebron.
Four Palestinians were wounded in clashes at the entrance to Bethlehem, two of whom were hospitalised after being shot with live ammunition, witnesses said. One is described as being in a serious condition.
And another five were lightly injured southeast of Bethlehem, where Israeli soldiers fired rubber bullets to break up crowds of Palestinian protestors hurling stones at an army post at the entrance to the Teqoa Jewish settlement.
Clashes also erupted in Kafr Kana near Nazareth, the largest Arab town in Israel, between police and stone-throwing Arab Israelis who blocked the road between the coastal port of Haifa and Tiberias on the Sea of Galilee. One was injured after being shot by police.
Thousands of Arab Israelis also joined a demonstration at Umm el-Fahm and joined a general strike called to protest Sharon's visit.
Seven Palestinians were killed Friday when Israeli security forces opened fire in the mosque compound, accusing Palestinians of stoning Jews praying at the nearby Wailing Wall.
Control over the site is the key stumbling block in efforts to end more than half a century of conflict between Israel and the Palestinians -- GAZA CITY (AFP)
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