News Column

'Day of Rage' Prompts Lockdown Amid Friday Prayers

July 25, 2014

Sky News (UK)

Israeli riot police deploy in Jerusalem (Sky News)

Israeli riot police have charged down skirmishes near the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, as fears of more trouble in the area sparked a lockdown on Friday prayers.

Only men aged over-50 are being allowed into Al Aqsa mosque after a massive protest in the West Bank last night resulted in the deaths of two Palestinians.

Israeli security forces have been put on heightened alert and deployed in and around Jerusalem's Old City after Palestinians declared today a "day of rage" following the violent and deadly clashes.

Sky's David Bowden, in east Jerusalem, said: "We have already had the first minor skirmish. Riot police charged down the road a short time ago towards a group of youths who were protesting, throwing rocks.

"The riot police fired baton rounds and they arrested at least one protester who was dragged away with his hands behind his back.

"A water cannon followed the police down, and actually they had set fire to a couple of massive tyres, and they used the water cannon as a fire truck and put that fire out.

"I don't want to over-egg this. It wasn't a great conflagration, but it gives you an idea of the tension here already.

"It didn't take very much for the police to scoot down this road under a barrage of rocks and start arresting people.

"And we are expecting more of this to happen as more and more people come out from the mosque."

Israeli police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld told Sky News: "We are taking all necessary precaution in order to prevent disturbances and if necessary, respond as we did last night.

"Once we receive clear indications that there are going to be disturbances on the Temple Mount it is necessary for an implementation of age limits in and around the Old City.

"Therefore, if there are disturbances, we will deal with them in and around the different neighbourhoods in the Israeli-Arab villages, and not on the Temple Mount where it is more difficult,

"We are taking all of these measures in order to prevent people from being injured or possibly killed around this area."

Amid the growing tensions, Israel and Hamas have been trading more fire, taking the Palestinian death toll to 815.

Hamas attempted to attack Ben Gurion airport in Tel Aviv with three rockets - two of which were destroyed mid-air by the Israelis.

It comes after EU and US authorities temporarily suspended all commercial flights after a rocket struck near runways on Tuesday.

A pregnant woman was among this morning's casualties in Gaza following a fresh wave of Israeli airstrikes on the area.

Surgeons managed to save the 23-year-old's unborn child, but a 12-year-old and 15-year-old were said to be among those killed in the strike on the southern city of Rafah, health officials said.

More than 140,000 people have fled the conflict, while some 33 Israeli soldiers have been killed, and three civilians have died in Israel from rocket fire.


Original headline: 'Day Of Rage' Amid Friday Prayers Lockdown

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Source: (c) Sky News 2014

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