5 die in West Bank clashes protesting Gaza conflict

It is feared clashes in Gaza are spilling over into the West Bank.
By Ed Adamczyk  |  July 25, 2014 at 12:58 PM
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JERUSALEM, July 25 (UPI) -- A "day of rage" Friday in the West Bank regarding the conflict between Gaza and Israel resulted in the deaths of five Palestinians, medical officials confirmed.

Thousands of Palestinians demonstrated Thursday evening at a checkpoint between Jerusalem and the West Bank town of Ramallah, and one person was killed in clashes between young Palestinians and Israeli security forces. Thousands more attended the funeral of the victim, Muhammad al-Araj, 17, on Friday.

Disturbances also broke out in largely Muslim East Jerusalem on Friday, and two Palestinians were shot and killed in the town of Hawara -- one, local news reports said, by a female Israeli settler in the West Bank. Two others died after being shot at a demonstration in Beit Ommar, in the southern West Bank.

Gaza militants continued to fire rockets into Israel Friday, although no casualties were reported. The events come as U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, in Cairo, Egypt, prepares a Gaza peace plan that includes a proposed one-week cease-fire and cooling-off period.

Weeks of fighting in Gaza, and the potential opening of another front for clashes in the West Bank, has increased the possibility that a Palestinian intifada -- or spontaneous uprising -- is near, but that potential cannot be predicted, officials said.

"The intifada does not start by a decision and end by a decision," said Othman Abu Gharbiya of the Fatah central committee, a power in Palestinian politics in the West Bank. Still, he said, "no doubt we are passing through a dangerous time."

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