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Deadly West Bank attack after day of clashes in Jerusalem


Palestinian worshippers attend the last Friday prayers of the Muslim holy fasting month of Ramadan, outside the Dome of the Rock mosque at the Al-Aqsa mosque compound in Israeli-annexed east Jerusalem

A Palestinian man and an Israeli guard were killed in separate West Bank incidents following clashes on Friday between Palestinians and Israeli police at Jerusalem’s flashpoint Al-Aqsa mosque.

The guard was attacked at the entrance of the Ariel settlement, the army said, adding that they were pursuing the “terrorists”.

The Palestinian Red Crescent said 42 people had been hurt at the site, which is venerated by Muslims and Jews.

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The man, in his 20s, was shot in the chest during an Israeli army operation in the town of Azzun, the ministry said in a statement.

Israeli police released footage that showed young men on the Al-Aqsa compound hurling stones and fireworks in Friday’s early hours. Officers entered the site at dawn.

Police said officers used “riot dispersal means” to contain the unrest and that two people had been arrested, one for throwing stones and the other one for “inciting the mob”.

An uneasy calm had been restored at the compound following the unrest that surrounded morning prayers, but tensions remained high.

– Tensions –

The site is in east Jerusalem, which Israel captured in the 1967 Six-Day War and later annexed, in a move not recognised by most of the international community.

But Israel has insisted it has been compelled to act against operatives from Islamist groups Hamas and Islamic Jihad. It says the militants threaten Muslim worshippers at Al-Aqsa and Jews praying at the Western Wall.

Jews are allowed to visit the Temple Mount.

– ‘Quds Day’ –

Violence in Israeli-annexed east Jerusalem has raised fears of another armed conflict similar to an 11-day war last year between Israel and Hamas, triggered in part by similar unrest at Al-Aqsa.

Hamas and Islamic Jihad leaders held a rally in Gaza late Thursday, with calls to “defend” Jerusalem including Al-Aqsa.

Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei made live televised remarks in support of Palestinians and slammed those in the West backing Ukraine against Russia’s invasion.

Hamas followed with a statement thanking Iran for “standing with Jerusalem and the blessed Al-Aqsa mosque, and for supporting our resisting nation by all means.”

Twelve Israelis, including an Arab-Israeli police officer, and two Ukrainians were killed in four separate attacks inside Israel. Two of the deadly attacks were carried out in the Tel Aviv area by Palestinians.

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