Palestinians, Israeli forces clash after funeral (AP) Associated Press) By DIAA HADID JERUSALEM, ISRAEL 02/25/12 11:38 am ET)
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JERUSALEM – Dozens of Palestinian youths clashed with Israeli forces
in a Jerusalem suburb Saturday, the second day of violent
confrontations in the holy city where tensions have been running high
Saturday´s clash erupted after the funeral of a 23-year-old
Palestinian who was shot dead the day before by Israeli forces.
In Saturday´s confrontation in the West Bank district of al-Ram
abutting Jerusalem, dozens of Palestinian youths, some of them
masked, hurled rocks and exploding firecrackers at troops. They took
cover behind barricades of overturned garbage containers and black
plumes of smoke from burning tires.
Israeli forces fired tear gas and rubber-coated steel pellets,
protecting themselves with plastic masks and shields. Neither side
Palestinian protesters prevented cars from entering the sprawling
neighborhood, fearing some might carry undercover Israeli troops. The
youths also prepared fire bombs, but it wasn´t clear if any were
thrown at Israeli forces.
The clashes came a day after Talat Ramia was shot and killed as he
hurled exploding fireworks at Israeli forces in al-Ram. Palestinian
youths have recently began using exploding fireworks to rattle — and
potentially injure — Israeli forces. The hand-held brown cylinders
make a hissing noise and emit a stream of sparks before they explode.
An Israeli military spokesman could not immediately say if opening
fire under such circumstances violated the army´s rules of
engagement. He spoke on condition of anonymity, citing military
regulations. The army said it is investigating the shooting.
Palestinians and their supporters complain that such investigations
rarely lead to indictments against soldiers.
The clash that killed Ramia was one of many that broke out throughout
Arab neighborhoods of Jerusalem on Friday. They were sparked by
Palestinian rumors that extremist Jews would try storm the Al-Aqsa
compound, Islam´s third holiest shrine. The compound sits atop
remains of the biblical Jewish Temple, the most sacred site in
The rumors were not true, said Israeli police.
Also Saturday, several days of Palestinian reconciliation talks in
Cairo ended without results, participants said.
Political rivals Hamas and Fatah failed to reach agreement on the
composition of an interim unity government that would end more than
four years of separate administrations in the West Bank and Gaza and
lead the Palestinians to elections.
Earlier this month, Hamas chief Khaled Mashaal and Palestinian
President Mahmoud Abbas of Fatah had reached a breakthrough agreement
under which Abbas would head the interim government. The two leaders
held more talks in Cairo to try to come up with names for the new
government but failed to make progress, participants said.
A senior Abbas aide, Azzam al-Ahmed, alleged that Hamas hasn´t yet
settled its internal differences over the unity deal, but Izzat
Rishq, a Mashaal aide, said it was Abbas who asked for more time.
____Associated Press writer Mohammed Daraghmeh in Cairo contributed
reporting. (© 2012 The Associated Press 02/25/12)
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