Palestinians and Israelis Killed, Hundreds Wounded as Violence Engulfs West Bank

Israeli police enter hospital, witnesses believed they were looking for those wounded in protests.

(MEE) — Three Palestinians were shot dead and four others wounded as thousands of Palestinian worshippers clashed with security forces on a “day of rage” over Israeli control of Islam’s third-holiest site. Israel’s army said a family of three Israeli settlers were stabbed to death and a fourth was wounded in the Israeli West Bank settlement of Neve Tsuf on Friday.

Mohammad Sharaf, 17, was reportedly shot by an Israeli settler in the Ras Alamood area in East Jerusalem. Mohammed Hassan Abu Ghannam, 19, died of wounds in al-Makassed hospital after he was shot by an Israeli settler in East Jerusalem. Footage on social media shows Ghannam’s body being carried over the hospital gate by Palestinian paramedics and protesters.

A third Palestinian was killed in Abu Dis, AFP reported, quoting Palestinian health officials saying: “A Palestinian was killed after he was shot in the heart by live bullets.”

The Israeli family that was stabbed were reportedly having Shabbat dinner. A 20-year-old Palestinian from Khobar barged into the house, killed three family members and severely wounded a fourth. The three slain were the father, who was in his 60s, his son and daughter who were both in their 40s, according to a Haaretz report. The mother is being treated at Shaare Zedek hosptial in Jerusalem.

The reported assailant was identified in news reports as Omar el-Abed from the West Bank village of Khobar near Ramallah.

Abed sustained some injuries and was sent to Rabin Medical Center in Petah Tikva for treatment, according to a Haaretz report.

The army said in a statement that the four victims were Israeli civilians and that the assailant was also shot. It was not known whether he was alive.

The deaths came as thousands of Palestinians clashed with police after peaceful prayers around the Old City. Many had refused to enter the Noble Sanctuary and the al-Aqsa mosque in protest of new Israeli security checkpoints at two key entrances.

The sanctuary has for a week been subjected to increased security measures, including metal detectors, that many in Palestine see as an attempt to gain control of the site.

Worshippers outside the Old City were scattered soon after Friday prayers as Israeli police fired tear gas and rubber bullets into the crowds in Salah al-Din Street. Four Palestinians were reported injured.

Israel arrested 29 Palestinians in the West Bank and East Jerusalem and more than 390 people were injured on Friday, according to a Haaretz report. The Red Crescent said most of the injured Palestinians inhaled tear gas while 38 were hit with live and rubber bullets.

Ahmad Abdul Salaam, who came to pray outside the Noble Sanctuary, said: “Putting these metal detectors at the entrance to our place of worship is like putting them at the entrance to our house. Are you really going to put me through a metal detector as I go into my house?”

Israeli police enter hospital

Israeli police also entered al-Makassed hospital in Jerusalem and asked employees to leave. Witnesses said they believed Israeli officers were looking for those wounded in the clashes.

Earlier, the hospital released a statement asking for blood donations because of the number of injured.

The Israeli action after prayers came on a day Palestinian leaders had promised a “day of rage” over Israel’s moves to control access to the sanctuary, following an attack by gunmen last week that killed two Israeli police.

Talks to remove metal detectors from the gated entrances collapsed overnight as Palestinian Authority negotiators refused to accept Israel’s offer of subjecting only “suspicious people” to metal detection checks.

Israel poured thousands of extra police into the city in response. Police were seen taking up positions above crowds of worshippers, armed with baton rounds and assault rifles.