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Israeli Forces, Palestinians Clash at West Bank Checkpoint

Palestinians burn tires during Israeli military raid in the West Bank city of Nablus, Oct. 6, 2015.

Israeli forces clashed with Palestinian youth during demonstrations Tuesday at a major checkpoint between Jerusalem and the West Bank city of Ramallah.

Several hundred Palestinians demonstrated at the Qalandia checkpoint, with some throwing stones. Israeli forces wearing riot gear fired rubber bullets and threw stun grenades to disperse the crowd.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas says he wants to avoid a violent escalation with Israel, his most direct comments since unrest has spread in recent days and provoked fears of a new uprising.

Violence has intensified in East Jerusalem and the West Bank in recent weeks, mainly over the Jerusalem holy site revered by Muslims as the al-Aqsa mosque and Jews as the Temple Mount.

Four Israelis have been killed in shooting and stabbing attacks in recent days. On Monday, Israeli forces shot and killed two Palestinian teenagers who were throwing stones. Israeli police also arrested five Palestinians accused in last week's drive-by shooting that killed an Israeli couple.

Homes of militants destroyed

The Israeli army has demolished Tuesday the homes of two Palestinian militants who carried out deadly attacks last year in Jerusalem.

Israel says the move is aimed at deterring Palestinian terrorists after a wave of shootings and stabbings that left four Israelis dead since Thursday.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu promised a "strong hand" to fight terror and to quell unrest that has raised fears of a third Palestinian uprising.


The demolished Palestinian homes are in Arab East Jerusalem. They belonged to the families of a man who killed four worshippers and a policeman at a Jerusalem synagogue, and a second attacker who killed a rabbi when he rammed a bulldozer into pedestrians.

Since both assailants were killed, the Palestinian Authority describes the home demolitions as collective punishment.

Palestinian official Ashraf al-Ajami said Israel is refusing to deal with the root of the violence, which is its oppressive military occupation of the West Bank. He told Israel Radio that Netanyahu is not interested in negotiating a two-state solution.

The simmering unrest began three weeks ago at a hotly disputed holy place in Jerusalem’s Old City known to Muslims as the Mosque of Al-Aqsa and to Jews as the Temple Mount. Palestinians accuse Israel of trying to seize control of the site; but Netanyahu emphatically denies it, accusing the Palestinian Authority of "wild incitement."