The West Bank Erupts In Palestinian-Declared 'Day Of Rage'

 PalestinianREUTERS/Mohammed SalemA Palestinian reacts following what witnesses said was an Israeli air strike on a building in Gaza City July 24, 2014.

Israeli security forces were on heightened alert Friday after a Palestinian man was shot dead during a huge protest in the West Bank against Israel’s military offensive in Gaza.

Palestinian factions in the West Bank declared a “Day of Rage” after the Thursday night clashes, which took place around the West Bank and in some sectors of Israeli-annexed east Jerusalem.

Police said that due to fears of violent protest over the deadly Israeli military campaign in the Gaza Strip, they would bar men under the age of 50 from Jerusalem’s flashpoint Al-Aqsa mosque for what are usually packed prayers on the last Friday of the Muslim holy fasting month of Ramadan.

“Different units have been mobilised in and around the Old City” of Jerusalem, police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld told AFP on Friday.

“We’re prepared to deal with any disturbances.”

Palestinian security and medical officials named the slain man as Mohammed Al-Aaraj, 25, and said he was among at least 10,000 people who clashed with soldiers and border police in Qalandiya, between Jerusalem and Ramallah.

They said 150 people were wounded by Israeli fire, with five of them in critical condition.

Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas appealed for blood donors.

The army told AFP that live fire was used in a confrontation with the protesters after some threw rocks, firecrackers and petrol bombs at soldiers and border police.

The fighting ended in the early hours of Friday, an army spokeswoman said.

Israeli public radio said Palestinians and troops also clashed around the West Bank cities of Nablus, Hebron Bethlehem and Tulkarem.

The confrontations came on Laylat al-Qadr, or Night of Destiny, when Muslims pray through the night as Ramadan nears its end.

Large numbers of police deployed throughout Jerusalem Thursday night and police said two officers were injured by stone throwers near the Al-Aqsa mosque.

Police said that 39 protesters were arrested in various violent disturbances in Palestinian areas of the city.

Copyright (2014) AFP. All rights reserved.

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