DOZENS of Palestinians were injured in violent clashes across al-Tur and al-Issawiya neighbourhoods in occupied East Jerusalem on Saturday as Palestinians protested the death of Muhammad Abu Ghannam, 17, shot dead by Israeli police late Friday.
The clashes in al-Tur were concentrated near the Mount of Olives and had broken out when Israeli forces stormed a Palestinian Martyrs’ centre and began indiscriminately firing tear gas canisters, which Palestinian youths responded to by throwing stones.
The 17-year-old Abu Ghannam, who came from al-Tur, was shot dead at Al-Zayyim checkpoint in occupied East Jerusalem after he allegedly attempted to stab Israeli checkpoint officers.
Israeli police claimed that the teenager began running towards a number of police officers at a checking station ‘wielding a large knife’.
A state of mourning was called for in al-Tur, which led to a mass strike, and witnesses reported that streets across the neighbourhood were nearly empty as local schools and institutions closed for the day.
Palestinian Red Crescent official Dr. Amin Abu Ghazaleh said 26 Palestinians had been injured by rubber-coated steel bullets during the clashes, mostly in their upper bodies, and that around 50 had suffered excessive tear gas inhalation.
He said that Israeli forces, including snipers positioned around al-Maqased Hospital, had targeted ambulance crews belonging to the Palestinian Red Crescent Society.
Two Palestinian medics were injured – Ahmed al-Shalawdi, who was shot in his shoulder, and Fadi Abedi, shot in his lower extremities.
Abu Ghazaleh said the Palestinian Red Crescent had established a field clinic in the area as ambulances had been prevented from reaching the area.
Meanwhile, in nearby al-Issawiya, a local committee member reported that Israeli forces had stormed the neighbourhood just as students were finishing school.
Violent clashes broke out as Israeli forces attempted to block students and teachers from leaving the schools.
Israeli forces reportedly fired tear gas canisters indiscriminately and dozens of Palestinians suffered excessive tear gas inhalation.
Abu Ghannam’s father Muhammad said that after identifying his son’s face for Israeli security forces, he had been prevented from seeing his son’s body and could not see where or how many times he had been shot.
He said that Israeli intelligence informed him that his son’s body would be delivered to the family on the condition that only 20 people attend the funeral.
He said that he had refused these conditions and demanded that his son’s body be delivered to the family unconditionally.
At the same time, Israeli forces have detained hundreds of Palestinians across East Jerusalem.