Thursday, June 21, 2018
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Palestinians shot dead after Jerusalem Old City attacks

Three Palestinians killed by Israeli forces after separate attacks at Damascus Gate near Jerusalem's Old City.

Israeli policemen

Israeli police have shot dead three Palestinians after two separate attacks on security forces outside the Old City of occupied East Jerusalem, officials said.

The Palestinian health ministry said it had been officially informed that three Palestinians had been killed in Friday's incident in nearby locations close to Damascus Gate.

Israeli police said a female officer in her 20s was critically wounded after the attack and was taken to hospital. At least two bystanders were also reportedly hurt.

Two of the men killed were said to be 18-year-old from al-Bireh, near Ramallah, while the third suspect was a 31-year-old from Hebron.

Pandemonium broke out shortly after Friday's attacks as police pushed hundreds of people out of the Old City to clear the scene. 

Tens of thousands of Palestinians from the occupied West Bank were given permits by Israeli authorities to enter occupied East Jerusalem on Friday for Ramadan prayers. 

Excessive force

Since October 2015, Palestinian assailants have killed 42 Israelis, two visiting Americans and a British student, mainly in stabbing, shooting and vehicular attacks. In that time, some 250 Palestinians were killed by Israeli fire.

Most of the Palestinians killed were allegedly carrying out knife, gun or car-ramming attacks, Israeli authorities say.

Others were shot dead during protests or clashes, while some were killed in Israeli air strikes on the besieged Gaza Strip.

Israel blames the violence on incitement by Palestinian political and religious leaders.

Palestinians said it stems from anger over decades of Israeli occupation in territory they claim for their state.

Since October 2015, a number of local and international human rights groups have raised concerns that Israeli security forces have used excessive force when confronting Palestinians who had carried out attacks or been suspected of doing so.

The Israeli police relaxed its open-fire regulations in December 2015, permitting officers to open fire with live ammunition on those throwing stones or firebombs as an initial option, without having to use non-lethal weapons first.

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