Three Pales­tini­ans, three Is­raelis killed in vi­o­lence over holy site


Es­ca­lat­ing Is­raeli-Pales­tinian ten­sions over the Holy Land’s most con­tested shrine boiled over into vi­o­lence on Fri­day that killed six peo­ple — three Pales­tini­ans in street clashes in Jerusalem and three Is­raelis in a stab­bing at­tack at a West Bank set­tle­ment.

Af­ter night­fall, a Pales­tinian sneaked into a home in the Is­raeli set­tle­ment of Halamish in the West Bank and stabbed to death three Is­raelis, the head of Is­rael’s res­cue ser­vice said.

An Is­raeli news site said those killed were two men and a woman who were hav­ing din­ner at the time. The army re­leased footage show­ing a blood-cov­ered kitchen floor.

Is­rael TV’s Chan­nel 10 said the as­sailant was in his late teens and had posted on Face­book that he was up­set by the events at the shrine. Eli Bin, the head of Is­rael’s res­cue ser­vice MDA, said an off-duty sol­dier next door heard screams, rushed to the home and shot the at­tacker through a win­dow. Bin said the at­tacker was wounded and taken to hos­pi­tal.

Pales­tinian Pres­i­dent Mah­moud Ab­bas, mean­while, an­nounced that he is freez­ing ties with Is­rael, deal­ing a blow to fledgling Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion ef­forts to try to re­new long-dor­mant peace talks.

Ab­bas said con­tacts with Is­rael would be sus­pended on “all lev­els.” It was not im­me­di­ately clear if this means long-stand­ing se­cu­rity co­or­di­na­tion be­tween Is­raeli troops and Ab­bas’s forces will be halted.

At is­sue in the cur­rent round of vi­o­lence are metal de­tec­tors Is­rael in­stalled at the Jerusalem shrine this week, in re­sponse to a deadly at­tack by Arab gun­men there. The shrine con­tains the Al Aqsa and Dome of the Rock mosques.

The metal de­tec­tors are per­ceived by the Pales­tini­ans as an en­croach­ment on Mus­lim rights and por­trayed by Is­rael as a needed se­cu­rity mea­sure fol­low­ing the at­tack that killed two Is­raeli po­lice­men.

Ear­lier Fri­day, sev­eral thou­sand Pales­tini­ans in Jerusalem and the West Bank clashed with Is­raeli troops, burn­ing tires or throw­ing stones and fire­crack­ers. Troops fired live rounds, rub­ber bul­lets and tear gas. Three Pales­tini­ans were killed and sev­eral dozen hos­pi­tal­ized with live or rub­ber bul­let in­juries. White clouds of tear gas rose from Jerusalem streets and West Bank flash­points. In one neigh­bour­hood, Pales­tini­ans threw stones from be­hind a mat­tress.

Is­rael also faced grow­ing crit­i­cism from the Mus­lim world, and thou­sands staged anti-Is­rael protests af­ter Fri­day prayers in Jordan and Ye­men. The con­fronta­tions in the Holy Land could es­ca­late in com­ing days, as both sides dig in.

Jerusalem’s top Mus­lim cleric, Mo­hammed Hus­sein, said protests, in­clud­ing mass street prayers out­side the shrine, would con­tinue un­til the de­vices are re­moved. He told wor­ship­pers Fri­day that they should pre­pare for a “long test of wills” with Is­rael.

“We will not back off,” he said.


A Pales­tinian protester throws back a tear-gas can­is­ter fired by Is­raeli sol­diers dur­ing clashes on the Is­raeli bor­der with Gaza on Fri­day.

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