Clashes Erupt In Israel On Palestinian 'Day Of Rage'

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By Paul Goldman and Henry Austin

Clashes erupted in Jerusalem and the West Bank after Palestinian leaders called for a “day of rage” to protest about new Israeli security measures.

Israeli Magen David Adom ambulance service told NBC News that a Palestinian was seriously injured and three Israeli policemen were also hurt in Jabel Mukaber, a predominantly Arab neighborhood in southern East Jerusalem.

Israel had earlier deployed around 800 extra police in the heart of Jerusalem and adjacent Arab neighborhoods.

Tensions have been running high in the since Israel’s Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon banned two Muslim groups which confront Jewish visitors to the ancient al-Asqa Mosque last week.

He said the groups were the main sources of tension and violence at the site and banning them was necessary to public order.

Israeli police raided the plaza outside the mosque on Sunday in what they said was a bid to head off Palestinian attempts to disrupt visits by Jews and foreign tourists on the eve of the Jewish New Year.

Police used tear gas and threw stun grenades toward Palestinian youths, who barricaded themselves inside the mosque and hurled rocks and flares.

Along with the Dome of the Rock, the mosque is one of the holiest places in Islam. Jews refer to the area as Temple Mount, where an ancient Jewish temple once stood. It is the most sacred place in Judaism.

In an effort to limit the threat of violence, Israel also banned access to al-Aqsa for all men under 40 on Friday, the Muslim holy day.

But rather than putting a cap on unrest, the restrictions appeared to further fuel anger and frustration.

As well as tensions over al-Aqsa, Palestinians are angry at plans by Israel to allow police and soldiers to open fire on anyone seen throwing stones at Israeli vehicles.

There have been a series of such attacks in recent weeks, including one that lead to the death of an Israeli driver in Jerusalem. Cars traveling on a highway that cuts through the West Bank have also been targeted.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has spoken to leaders in Jordan, Saudi Arabia and Egypt in recent days to raise his concerns about Israel's actions at al-Aqsa.

He sees them as an attempt to change the long-standing status quo at the site, where Jewish access is permitted but Jewish prayer banned.

Israeli officials have in turn accused Palestinian leaders of inciting violence against Jewish visitors and say the Palestinians themselves are not respecting the status quo by attempting to prevent access by non-Muslims.