Two Palestinians killed in W. Bank clashes with Israeli security forces
Thousands march from Ramallah to Jerusalem, as Israeli forces deploy across Israeli capital on important evening in Muslim calendar.
Two Palestinians were killed Thursday night in clashes between thousands of demonstrators and police in East Jerusalem.
Over 200 were wounded, at least ten of them seriously.
The east side of the capital was in turmoil Thursday, as thousands of police officers and border police deployed across the city in preparations for expected disturbances through the end of Friday prayers.
Two policemen were slightly injured by stone throwers on Temple Mount. In the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Wadi Joz, all approaches to the fire station were blocked, and a spokesman for the firefighting services announced that the station would not be in operation.
There were also disturbances in near the Old City's Flower Gate, the alleyways of the Old City, Ras al-Amud and Silwan. Palestinians report clashes around the Qalandiya checkpoint, and that the police and the army have closed all major arteries leading to the area. Palestinian ambulances evacuated seven injured demonstrators from the Qalandiya checkpoint to Ramallah.
Thursday night is Laylat al-Qadr according to Muslim tradition, the most important night in the month of Ramadan. Police and security officials are concerned that the combination of the holiday and the fighting in Gaza will lead to widespread disturbances in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.
Thousands of Palestinians marched from Ramallah toward Jerusalem. Ambulances have been moving back and forth, ferrying the injured from the Qalandia checkpoint and keeping close to the demonstrators, which include men and women of all ages.
The thousands of marchers who approached the Qalandia checkpoint were stopped by the Qalandia refugee camp, about 300 before the checkpoint because of rising clouds of teargas and the sounds of exploding stun grenades and gunfire.
Confrontations between youths and soldiers at the checkpoint are nearly a daily phenomenon, but a demonstration of this proportion has not been seen for years. It was organized over the past week in an attempt to change Palestinian policy and to express support for the residents of Gaza and in Hamas's "way of resistance."
Palestinian police, which a week ago blocked demonstrators on their way to the settlement of Beit El, this time directed traffic at the beginning of the march.
Since the murder of teenager Mohammed Abu Khdeir, there have been demonstrations almost every day in most East Jerusalem neighborhoods. Last week, the police for the first time used a so-called skunk vehicle, which disperse demonstrators by spraying a foul smell into the air.
Police are expecting heavy traffic around the Old City and in East Jerusalem neighborhoods, and are asking drivers to avoid the area.
Jerusalem Police Chief Yossi Pariente decided Thursday to restrict the age of adults praying on Temple Mount to 50 or above. The riots Thursday evening broke out around the checkpoints that prevented youths from ascending to Temple Mount.
Police used crowd dispersal methods and arrested 12 youths.
Like us on Facebook and get articles directly in your news feed