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East Jerusalem: Two Palestinians killed as holy site tensions soar

Israeli police made arrests as the violence erupted Israeli police made arrests as the violence erupted

Two Palestinians have been killed during clashes with Israeli security forces in East Jerusalem, Palestinian officials say.

About 200 were hurt in violence there and in occupied West Bank, after days of friction over a Jerusalem holy site boiled over.

Palestinian factions had called for a "day of rage" in protest at new Israeli security measures at the compound.

Tensions have soared since two Israeli policemen were killed last Friday.

Three Israeli Arab gunmen shot the officers near the holy site known to Muslims as Haram al-Sharif and to Jews as the Temple Mount. The gunmen were shot dead after being pursued on to the site.

Thousands of police were deployed around the compound on Friday morning, and Palestinian men under the age of 50 were barred from entering the Old City - a measure which is sometimes taken to try to prevent violent protests at the holy site.

Police said they fired tear gas to disperse Palestinians who threw stones and tried to break through a police barricade in the street outside.

The Palestinian health ministry said a 17-year-old Palestinian man had been shot dead in a neighbourhood nearby. It did not specify who was behind the shooting in the Ras al-Amud area.

A second man died after being seriously wounded in Friday's violence.

Clashes also erupted in other parts of East Jerusalem, at the Qalandia checkpoint between Ramallah and Jerusalem, and at the northern entrance of Bethlehem.

The Palestinian health ministry said more than 200 Palestinians had been hurt.

In the wake of the killing of the police last Friday, Israel installed metal detectors at entrances to the holy site. The move however drew an angry reaction from Palestinian and Islamic leaders who say it is a violation of the status quo.

Israel says it is a necessary for security after the weapons used to kill the policemen were smuggled into the hilltop compound.

The area, in East Jerusalem, has been under Israeli occupation since the 1967 Middle East war.

Israel has repeatedly pledged to maintain the status quo - a delicate set of arrangements in place at the site for the past 50 years. Any changes there are often regarded by Palestinians, who claim East Jerusalem as the capital of a sought-after state, as a violation of these arrangements.

Palestinians had refused to enter the Haram al-Sharif/Temple Mount - home to the al-Aqsa mosque and Dome of the Rock - unless the metal detectors were removed, holding prayers outside instead.

On Friday though, a number of worshippers went into the site to pray.

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