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Extremists burn cars in Jerusalem

March 20, 2010 9:25 A.M. (Updated: March 21, 2010 9:35 A.M.)
Jerusalem – Ma'an – Jewish extremists set fire to Palestinian vehicles in several neighborhoods of East Jerusalem on Saturday morning.

Ma'an's Jerusalem correspondent said cars were set ablaze in Ras Al-Amoud, Wadi Al-Joz, Salah Ad-Din Street, and Sultan Suleiman Street.

An Israeli police spokesman did not immediately return calls seeking comment.

Last week, ultra-Orthodox Jewish groups distributed a flyer threatening to assault residents of Jerusalem if they continued to protest the rededication of the Hurva synagogue in the Old City of Jerusalem. They also plan to organize a "provocative rally" in the Silwan neighborhood on Sunday, the reporter said.

Israeli police have offered contradictory statements on whether or not the rally was approved. Police sources said earlier that it had received approval, while other sources later claimed it was still being considered. They said approval depended on tensions in Jerusalem.

Separately, Israeli soldiers manning a military checkpoint at the entrance to Shu'fat refugee camp north of Jerusalem closed the crossing to vehicular traffic, allowing only pedestrians to cross in and out on foot.

The camp witnessed fierce clashes between Israeli forces and young Palestinians on Friday evening. Fifteen were injured before being detained after Israeli forces besieged them inside a building. Witnesses said each of the injured detainees was beaten during detention.

Meanwhile, Palestinian men under the age of 50 were turned away en route to Jerusalem at Bethlehem's Gilo military checkpoint on Saturday morning, onlookers said.

The army denied placing a closure on the West Bank, but Border Guard officers stationed at the post told Ma'an they were turning away Palestinians of certain ages over concerns they planned to attend demonstrations.
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