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Saturday Feb. 25, 2012 9:42 AM (EST+7)
Palestinian dies after clash with Israeli soldiers

Read more: Palestinian dead, Palestinian casualties, Qalandia, protests, demonstrations, Jerusalem, al-Aqsa, Hebron

RAMALLAH, West Bank, Feb 24 (Ali Sawafta/Reuters) - A Palestinian protester who participated in clashes against Israeli soldiers near a checkpoint in the occupied West Bank on Friday died of a bullet wound, a Palestinian hospital official said.

Some 40 youths threw rocks at the soldiers in an outbreak of violence at the Qalandiya checkpoint after they heard that clashes had taken place near the al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem, about 10 km (6 miles) away.

An Israeli police spokesman said officers had entered the compound at Jerusalem's holiest and most volatile religious site where the mosque is situated and had used stun grenades to disperse stone-throwing rioters. Four people were arrested.

An Israeli military spokesman said the protester at Qalandiya had launched fireworks at the soldiers from close range and they responded with live fire in self defense.

An initial investigation suggests that the Palestinian fired fireworks at soldiers from close range endangering their lives and the soldiers responded with live ammunition, wounding him in his shoulder, the spokesman said.

He added that the incident was under investigation.

A doctor from the Ramallah hospital said the man, identified as 23-year-old Talat Ramia, was hit by a bullet that went through his chest and had lost a lot of blood before his arrival for treatment.

He had already bled quite a lot ... we tried to resuscitate him but not to no avail, he was pronounced dead shortly afterwards, said the doctor, who declined to be named.

Jews revere the sacred compound as the site of their Biblical Temple, destroyed by Roman troops in the 1st century. Surviving foundations of its Western Wall are now a focus of prayer.

For Muslims, who captured Jerusalem from the Christian Byzantines in the 7th century, the golden Dome of the Rock shrine marks the spot from which the Prophet Mohammad made his night journey to heaven. They refer to the plaza as the Noble Sanctuary.

In another outbreak of violence in the southern West Bank city of Hebron, soldiers clashed with demonstrators who participated in two separate protests, and soldiers arrested four people, the military spokesman said.

Hebron is a flash point between Palestinians and Israelis where some 500 Jewish settlers live within the old city, surrounded by some 160,000 Palestinians.

The protests were held to demand that Israel reopen a street in the city close to the area where the Jews live and that has been closed to Muslims since an ultranationalist Jew shot dead 29 Muslim worshipers in the city's main mosque in 1994. (Additional reporting by Jihan Abdalla and Ori Lewis in Jerusalem, Writing by Ori Lewis; Editing by Michael Roddy)






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