Palestinian Teen Dead After Jerusalem Clashes

A Palestinian teenager wounded in Jerusalem clashes Friday, as Palestinians launched events to mourn the 1948 creation of the Jewish state, died of his wounds overnight. "He died after being shot in the stomach, we are taking the body for burial now," Maher Ayyash, an uncle of 16-year-old Milad Said Ayyash, said by phone from an east Jerusalem hospital.

Palestinian Teen Dead After Jerusalem ClashesA Palestinian teenager wounded in Jerusalem clashes Friday, as Palestinians launched events to mourn the 1948 creation of the Jewish state, died of his wounds overnight.

"He died after being shot in the stomach, we are taking the body for burial now," Maher Ayyash, an uncle of 16-year-old Milad Said Ayyash, said by phone from an east Jerusalem hospital.

Another relative said that the teen was shot by a Jewish settler in the flashpoint neighbourhood of Silwan, where youngsters hurled stones and petrol bombs at police and media said petrol bombs were also thrown at a Jewish settlement enclave.

Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld told AFP late Friday that no live ammunition had been used, either by security forces or by Jewish settlers who live scattered among Palestinians in Silwan.

He said the circumstances of the teenager's wounding were under investigation.

A second youth from Silwan was hit in the genitals by rubber bullets fired on Friday by security forces, said a spokesman for the Red Crescent, who did not give details about other casualties.

A police statement said three people causing disturbances were "very slightly hurt" by sponge rounds fired by anti-riot police. The foam rubber ammunition is designed to deliver a heavy, stunning blow without penetrating the body.

Three police officers were also lightly injured in clashes with protesters who threw stones and petrol bombs.

An AFP correspondent saw at least four Palestinians hurt as police fired rubber bullets at stone-throwing youths in Silwan, with clashes also reported in Issawiya, Al-Tur and Ras al-Amud -- all flanking Jerusalem's Old City.
Palestinian Teen Dead After Jerusalem Clashes
Protests are expected to continue over the weekend, culminating on Sunday, and Rosenfeld said he expected that police would also be out in strength on Saturday.

"I should imagine that there will be large number of police around east Jerusalem," he said. "We'll be assessing the situation constantly."

Thousands of police have been on high alert across Israel, especially in Jerusalem, fearing an outbreak of violence in the run-up to Sunday's commemoration of the "Nakba" or "catastrophe" of Israel's creation.

Israel celebrated the 63rd anniversary of its creation on Tuesday, in accordance with the Hebrew calendar.

More than 760,000 Palestinians -- estimated today to number 4.7 million with their descendants -- fled or were driven out of their homes in the Arab-Israeli war which followed Israel's establishment.

Around 160,000 Palestinians stayed behind and are now known as Arab Israelis. They number about 1.3 million people, or some 20 percent of Israel's population.

AFP