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Palestinian killed in West Bank by Israeli gunfire
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Press TV, West Bank - Israeli soldiers have attacked a civilian vehicle near the West Bank city of Bethlehem, killing a Palestinian man.

 

The Palestinian health ministry said Ahmed Manasara, 26, was shot dead on Wednesday near a checkpoint close to Bethlehem, without providing further details.

 

The Israeli military claimed that a soldier had "opened fire after identifying rocks being thrown at Israeli vehicles."

 

"The incident will be examined," the army said in a statement early Thursday.

 

Official Palestinian news agency Wafa said Manasara was in the car when he was shot dead, with another Palestinian in the car seriously wounded.

 

Tensions are high in the West Bank over ongoing Israeli aggression at the al-Aqsa Mosque compound in the Old City of Jerusalem al-Quds.

 

On Sunday, the Jerusalem al-Quds Magistrate's Court announced that it had accepted a request by Israeli officials to temporarily close Bab al-Rahma (Gate of Mercy) prayer area at the al-Aqsa Mosque compound.

 

The prayer area of the al-Rahma Gate was closed on February 25 upon an order by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and reopened the following day.

Israel had closed the gate that leads to the prayer space in al-Aqsa Mosque since 2003 in the face of the Second Intifada (uprising) against the regime’s occupation.

 

On February 22, however, the Waqf Council, which oversees the holy sites at the al-Aqsa Mosque compound, decided to re-open the prayer space at the Bab al-Rahma Gate in defiance of Israel’s 16-year-old ban. Hundreds of worshipers, led by the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem al-Quds, Sheikh Muhammad Hussein, entered the area for the first time since 2003 for Friday prayers.

 

Angered by the move, the Tel Aviv regime launched an arrest campaign against Palestinians. The arrests drew criticisms from Palestinians and Jordan. The Islamic Waqf organization and Palestinian institutions have insisted on keeping the Bab al-Rahma prayer area open for Muslim worship.

 

Palestinians have repeatedly warned of Israeli attempts to change the status quo of the al-Aqsa compound, the third holiest site in Islam.

 

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