Palestinian terrorist shot before he could detonate suicide belt
Four Palestinians were killed – including one who stabbed an Israeli police officer — and about 250 others were wounded in clashes with security forces as the fallout continued Friday over President Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as the Jewish state’s capital.
Thousands of Palestinians took part in violent protests across the West Bank, East Jerusalem and on the Gaza border, according to the Israeli newspaper Haaretz.
Mohammed Aqal, 29, who stabbed the Border Police officer in Ramallah, was evacuated by the Red Crescent and died later Friday, the Times of Israel reported.
A photograph of Aqal showed him wearing what looked like an explosive vest. When officers noticed the ominous-looking belt, they shot him again, fearing he would detonate it, police said.
The Hadashot news service later reported that the suicide belt was a model that did not contain actual explosives.
The injured officer was listed in stable condition with two stab wounds in the upper body, officials said.
Two other dead Palestinians were identified as Yasser Sokar, 32, and Ibrahim Abu Thurayeh, 29, a double amputee, both of whom were killed along the Israel-Gaza border, the Times of Israel reported.
Abu Thurayeh had taken part in several border skirmishes and was seen carrying a Palestinian flag.
The Israel Defense Forces said soldiers opened fire on the “main instigators” of violent protests by about 3,500 Gazans at the border after they failed to heed repeated calls to stop approaching the fence.
Hamas, which controls Gaza, has urged a new intifada to liberate Jerusalem in the wake of Trump’s Dec. 6 announcement.
The fourth dead Palestinian, Bassel Ibrahim, 24, was shot in clashes in Anata, a West Bank town on the northeast outskirts of Jerusalem.
In the West Bank, about 2,500 Palestinians took part in the violent protests, the IDF said, thousands less than last week. About 100 were wounded as they torched tires, threw rocks and hurled firebombs at security forces, official said.
Friday’s deaths put to eight the number of Palestinians killed since the “Day of Rage” protests broke out.
In Jerusalem itself, about 30,000 Muslims prayed at the Al-Aqsa Mosque on the Temple Mount, according to the Islamic organization that administers the site.
The vast majority left without incident, but small scuffles broke out in the Old City.
A 30-year-old Israeli man also was lightly injured near the West Bank town of Hizme near Jerusalem when Palestinians threw rocks at his car.
Late Friday, a rocket fired from Gaza felt short of Israel and hit a residential building in the Gazan town of Beit Hanoun, a Israeli army official told Haaretz.
It was the 16th rocket fired at Israel from Gaza since Dec. 6 — marking the highest number of rockets launched since the end of Operation Protective Edge in August 2014.
Palestinians were outraged by Trump’s announcement because they saw it as siding with Israel on the most sensitive issue in the conflict.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has said Trump’s move disqualified the US from acting as a mediator in peace talks because he departed from decades of American policy that the fate of the capital should be decided through negotiations.
East Jerusalem is home to sensitive Jewish, Muslim and Christian holy sites and the fate of the territory is an emotionally charged issue at the heart of the conflict.
The Palestinians seek East Jerusalem — which Israel captured from Jordan in the 1967 Six-Day War — as the capital of their hoped-for state.
Israel says the entire city, including East Jerusalem, is its eternal capital.
( Source )