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Police clash with Palestinians, far-right march in Jerusalem

Israeli riot police detain a Palestinian man during clashes near Damascus Gate just outside Jerusalem's Old City, on April. 22, 2021. (AP Photo/Mahmoud Illean)

JERUSALEM (AP) -- Israeli police clashed with Palestinians outside Jerusalem's Old City on Thursday and manned barricades to prevent hundreds of Jewish extremists from marching to the area.

    Tensions are even higher than normal in the city, which is home to holy sites sacred to Jews, Christians and Muslims and has long been a flashpoint for Israeli-Palestinian violence.

    The police have clashed with Palestinians on a nightly basis since the start of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan last week, when authorities set up barricades at Damascus Gate, a traditional outdoor gathering spot.

    Police said the protesters threw stones and bottles. Footage circulating online showed police and hundreds of protesters running through the streets as the sound of either fireworks or stun grenades echoed in the background. Police said three people were arrested.

    The Palestinian Red Crescent emergency service said 32 Palestinians were injured in the clashes, including 12 who were hospitalized.

    Meanwhile, a far-right Jewish group known as Lahava led a march of hundreds of protesters chanting "Arabs get out!" toward Damascus Gate. The show of force came in response to videos circulated on TikTok showing Palestinians slapping religious Jews at random. Other videos made in response to them appear to show Jews assaulting Arabs.

    Police set up barricades a few hundred meters (yards) from Damascus Gate and by late Thursday appeared to have succeeded in keeping the protesters separated.

    Israel captured east Jerusalem, where the Old City is located, in the 1967 war and annexed it in a move not recognized internationally. The Palestinians want east Jerusalem to be the capital of their future state. Its status was one of the thorniest issues in the peace process, which ground to a halt more than a decade ago.

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