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Israeli forces open fire at protesters in Jerusalem al-Quds

Israeli forces keep watch as Palestinian protesters throw stones and shout slogans near an Israeli checkpoint in the West Bank city of Bethlehem, December 7, 2017. (Photo by AFP)

Israeli forces have opened fire on protesters, injuring several Palestinians in Jerusalem al-Quds where worshipers gathered on a "day of rage."

Clashes broke out Friday between Israeli police and Palestinian protesters, who are out on the streets to voice their anger at US President Donald Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem al-Quds as Israel’s “capital.”

The protesters have responded to a call by the Hamas resistance movement to hold a mass rally against the US and Israel after prayers.

Skirmishes were reported in the cities of Nablus, Ramallah, al-Quds and al-Khalil (Hebron), according to Palestinian Information Center.

The Palestinian Red Crescent said that more than 40 Palestinians were wounded from tear gas fired by Israeli troops in Qasra village south of Nablus.

Earlier Friday, Israel deployed hundreds of additional troops to occupied Palestinian cities in anticipation of massive protests.

“Several hundred additional police and border police have been deployed inside and in the vicinity of the Old City,” Israeli police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said.

President Donald Trump on Wednesday defied global warnings to formally recognize Jerusalem al-Quds as the “capital” of Israel and begin a process to move the US embassy to the occupied city.

The announcement has triggered a chorus of condemnations from around the world.

In a televised speech on Thursday, leader of Palestinian resistance movement Hamas Ismail Haniyeh called Washington’s decision an “aggression on our people and a war on our sanctuaries,” urging a “day of rage” against Washington and Tel Aviv.

He also called for a new Palestinian intifada, or uprising, against Israel and said this should begin on Friday.

On Thursday, most violent clashes occurred in Ramallah, Bethlehem and al-Khalil (Hebron), where Israeli forces fired teargas and plastic-coated rounds as hundreds of protesters threw stones and set alight barricades.

In the Gaza Strip, there were fierce clashes between Israeli troops and dozens of protesters.

Some 162 Palestinians were reportedly wounded from rubber bullets or live fire on Thursday.

The Palestinian Authority (PA) has announced that the US vice-president, Mike Pence, would “not be welcome in Palestinian Territories” when he travels to the region later this month.

The UN Security Council is also set to hold an emergency meeting to discuss Trump’s move.

[This item is being updated.]

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