Palestinians, Israelis clash as Jerusalem fallout continues
GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) -- Clashes broke out amid a fresh wave of violence across the West Bank and along Gaza's border on Friday as the fallout continued over President Donald Trump's announcement last week recognizing Jerusalem as Israel's capital, killing two Palestinians and wounding dozens of other protesters and one Israeli officer.
Protests in response to the Trump's announcement, which departed from decades of U.S. policy that the fate of Jerusalem should be decided through negotiations, have yet to relent across various Arab and Muslim countries in the region.
Following Friday prayers, Palestinians in the West Bank and along the Gaza border set fire to tires and threw rocks at Israeli troops who responded with tear gas and live fire.
Gaza Health Ministry spokesman Ashraf al-Kidra said two Palestinians were killed from gunshots to the head. He identified one of the men as Ibrahim Abu Thraya, 29, a disabled man who had both legs amputated. He had taken part in several border skirmishes recently with images on social media show him carrying a Palestinian flag.
Another 82 Palestinians were injured in clashes in several locations along Gaza's border with Israel, at least five of whom were seriously wounded, he said.
Friday's deaths put to six the number of Palestinians killed in Gaza since Trump's declaration on Dec. 06.
The Israel military said thousands of "Palestinian rioters are rolling burning tires and hurling firebombs and rocks" at security forces in the West Bank and along the border with Gaza. It said troops responded with riot dispersal munitions and also "fired selectively toward main instigators."
Near the West Bank city of Ramallah, one Palestinian was shot after he attacked an officer with a knife, stabbing him twice and wounding him moderately, said Israeli police. Spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said police are investigating reports that the attacker was wearing a suicide bomb vest or a fake explosive device. He added that they were also checking to see if he was posing as a journalist in order to get close to the officer.
Video of the incident later emerged on the Facebook page of Palestinian newspaper Al-Hadath showing a man wearing a heavy black jacket retreating after apparently stabbing the Israeli officer.
Israeli forces shoot him in the legs and again after he fell. A reporter is heard on the site saying the man was holding a knife.
As two ambulances approached, forces fired several more gunshots at the man and medical teams had to wait before evacuating him. The Palestinian Health Ministry said he is in critical condition.
In east Jerusalem, protesters waved Palestinian flags and chanted "Jerusalem is Arab" as they walked the narrow streets of the Old City. Some threw bottles of water at police.
The clashes were fiercer in the West Bank where about 13 protesters were injured by live fire and 61 by rubber bullets while dozens more were treated for tear gas inhalation, according to the Red Crescent.
In the city of Nablus, some Palestinians used slingshots to hurl rocks at Israeli security forces while others torched tires to use the thick plumes of smoke as cover. Others, masked, threw firebombs at an armored water cannon used to disperse crowds.
Palestinians have been clashing with Israeli troops across the West Bank and along the Gaza border since President Donald Trump recognized Jerusalem as Israel's capital last week. The Islamic militant group Hamas that rules Gaza has called for a new armed uprising against Israel in response to Trump's declaration.
East Jerusalem is home to sensitive Jewish, Muslim and Christian holy sites and the fate of the territory is an emotionally charged issue at the heart of the conflict. The Palestinians seek east Jerusalem, captured by Israel in the 1967 Mideast war from Jordan, as the capital of their hoped-for state. Israel says the entire city, including east Jerusalem, is its eternal capital.
Palestinians were infuriated by Trump's announcement on Dec. 6 because they saw it as siding with Israel on the most sensitive issue in the conflict. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has said Trump's move disqualified the U.S. from continuing in its role as the traditional mediator of peace talks.
Trump said his decision merely recognizes the reality that Jerusalem already serves as Israel's capital and is not meant to prejudge the final borders of the city.