Al-Aqsa: UN slams Israel killings of young Palestinians
The United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said he “deeply deplores” the killings of three Palestinians – one of whom was shot by a settler – as anger boiled over increased Israeli restrictions at Jerusalem’s al-Aqsa compound.
Guterres condemned the killings and called for an investigation early on Saturday, hours after mass protests by Palestinians around the holy site turned deadly.
He urged Israeli and Palestinian leaders to refrain from actions that could further escalate the volatile situation in Jerusalem’s Old City, saying that religious sites should be spaces for reflection, not violence.
Citing Guterres, UN deputy spokesman Farhan Haq said the organisation understands “legitimate security concerns, but on the other hand it is important that the status quo at the site be retained”.
Israeli security forces violently clamped down on Friday’s demonstrations, firing live ammunition, tear gas and rubber-coated bullets at crowds of Palestinians protesting against the new measures, which include the barring of Muslim men under the age of 50 from the holy site and the installation of metal detectors.
Israel tightened its grip on the compound on July 14 after two Israeli security officers were killed in an alleged attack by three Palestinians, who were themselves killed by Israeli police following the violence.
n the first fatal incident a week later on Friday, an Israeli settler killed 18-year-old Muhammad Mahmoud Sharaf in the Ras al-Amud neighbourhood in occupied East Jerusalem.
A second Palestinian, 20-year-old Muhamad Hasan Abu Ghanam, was killed by live fire during the demonstrations in Jerusalem.
And Israeli forces killed a third victim, 17-year-old Muhamad Mahmoud Khalaf, in clashes in the West Bank.
According to the Red Crescent, there were 450 wounded by Israeli forces during the protests in Jerusalem and the West Bank, with at least 215 injuries caused by tear gas inhalation.
Police say a Palestinian attacker also killed three Israelis at a West Bank settlement.(Agencies)