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Jerusalem police on high alert after clashes with Palestinians (ISRAEL HAYOM) Itsik Saban, Daniel Siryoti, Gadi Golan, Lilach Shoval, Israel Hayom Staff and News Agencies 02/26/12)Source: http://www.israelhayom.com/site/newsletter_article.php?id=3267 Israel Hayom Israel Hayom Articles-Index-TopPublishers-Index-Top
Hundreds of Palestinians hurl stones at Israeli forces over the weekend following calls on ultranationalist Jewish website for Muslims to be removed from Temple Mount • IDF kills Palestinian protester in West Bank village of al-Ram.

The Jerusalem District Police was on high alert Sunday morning for a possible renewal of disturbances at Jerusalem’s Temple Mount and in the West Bank, following violent scuffles between Palestinian rioters and the Israel Defense Forces and police on Friday, Army Radio reported.

Jerusalem District Police Commander Niso Shaham said the rioting “was the worst we have seen in the past two weeks,” and said the violence was sparked by calls on an ultranationalist right-wing Jewish website for Muslims to be removed from the Temple Mount, which is revered by both religions.

“There was a very grave incitement call on a website ... for the destruction of the mosques on the Temple Mount and to cleanse it of Muslims,” Shaham said. “The man responsible was questioned and the website is no longer active. He is suspected of incitement and sedition.”

The Jerusalem District Police commander said Islamic terrorist groups headed by Hamas were responsible for initiating the violence.

The violence began on Friday when hundreds of Palestinians threw stones at police and IDF forces at the Temple Mount. Some rioters barricaded themselves in the Al-Aqsa Mosque, forcing Israeli forces to break into the compound. The protesters were then dispersed by stun grenades. Eleven policeman were lightly injured by stones and four rioters were arrested.

Following the riot at the Temple Mount, other clashes broke out in the West Bank, near the Qalandia checkpoint, Hebron, and in the village of al-Ram near Jerusalem. In al-Ram, IDF forces shot and killed 25-year-old Talat Ramia after he hurled exploding fireworks at them. 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.

According to an initial investigation into the incident, soldiers opened fire at Ramia in accordance with the IDF’s rules of engagement after they believed their lives were at risk. Palestinians said Ramia was shot in the chest by soldiers and blamed Israel for his death. Six other Palestinians were injured in the incident.

Clashes between Palestinians and Israeli security forces continued on Saturday after Ramia’s funeral in al-Ram. Dozens of Palestinian youths, some of them masked, hurled rocks and exploding firecrackers at soldiers. 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. Conflicting reports said between nine and 40 Palestinians were treated for tear gas inhalation and rubber bullet wounds.

Ramia was the first Palestinian to die in a clash with Israeli security forces after months of relative calm. Israeli-Palestinian peacemaking has been deadlocked since late 2010.

Tensions have risen in the past month, however, and a number of confrontations have taken place between protesters and Israeli security forces at various locations in Jerusalem and the West Bank.

Also Saturday, several days of Palestinian reconciliation talks in Cairo ended without results, participants reported.

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.

Meanwhile, terrorists in the Gaza Strip fired two Qassam rockets into Israel early Sunday morning. The rockets exploded in open areas in the Eshkol Regional Council and in the Western Negev. No injuries or damages were reported.

The rocket attacks came after six rockets were fired into southern Israeli communities over the weekend. One of the rockets exploded near the security fence, while the rest landed in open spaces in the Eshkol Regional Council. No injuries or damages were reported in those incidents as well.

In response to the rocket fire, the Israel Air Force targeted and struck overnight Thursday and overnight Saturday several terrorist facilities, including a weapons manufacturing site and smuggling tunnel in the southern Gaza Strip.

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