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Israeli forces clash with youth in Silwan

Jan. 8, 2012 12:29 P.M. (Updated: Jan. 8, 2012 11:08 P.M.)
JERUSALEM (Ma’an) -- Fighting broke out between youth in an East Jerusalem neighborhood and Israeli forces on Saturday evening, after the troops entered the area to conduct arrests, residents said.

Young men blocked the streets in Silwan and pelted Israeli patrols with stones and empty bottles, with Israeli forces firing tear gas, stun grenades, rubber-coated bullets and live ammunition into the air, locals told Ma'an.

The clashes were the worst in several months, they said.

Forces detained Muhammad Abu Nab, 18, earlier on Saturday in the East Jerusalem neighborhood, witnesses said, adding that he was transferred to Israeli settlement outpost Ir David.

"Through such procedures, Israeli forces intend to break the spirit of Silwan’s population, preparing for an unspecified future plans against Silwan and Al-Aqsa Mosque," Abdul-Karim Abu Sneina, a member of the local committee to defend land in Silwan, told Ma'an.

He added: "Israel imposes facts on the ground in Jerusalem through systematic and well-designed plans, while the Arab and Islamic worlds are busy with their revolutions."

Silwan -- adjacent to the Old City's Dome of the Rock compound and Western Wall -- is a populated by a number of settler homes under heavy Israeli guard, and the site of frequent clashes with forces on arrest raids targeting the Palestinian population.

In late December, Israeli authorities announced the approval of a tourism complex in the neighborhood, sparking outrage among residents who say it will lead to more forced evictions of Palestinian homes and exert Israeli control over the area.

Israel insists that Jerusalem is its "eternal and indivisible" capital, and annexed the city's eastern sector after a 1967 war in a move never recognized by the international community.

For Palestinians, East Jerusalem is the capital of their promised state.
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