Tensions escalate between Palestinians and Israelis in Jerusalem

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Israeli police shot dead a Palestinian man suspected of being the gunman in an attempted murder of a far-right rabbi, Yehuda Glick, in Jerusalem on Wednesday night.

The dead man was identified as 32-year-old former prisoner Muataz Hijazi. He was shot on the roof of his home during a police raid in the city early on Thursday morning.

Hijazi was jailed in 2002 for alleged security offenses committed during the second intifada against Israeli occupation and had been released in 2012.

He spent more than 11 years in an Israeli prison – mostly in solitary confinement before his release, according to the Palestinian Prisoners Society.

Following the rabbi’s shooting, Israeli police closed worship sites in Jerusalem to all worshipers and visitors until further notice. The Palestinian leader condemned the move.

“Jerusalem, including its Islamic and Christian holy places, is a red line and touching it is unacceptable,” Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said in a statement, quoted by the Associated Press news agency.

The move is tantamount to a “declaration of war,” Abbas added.

Rabbi Glick is a well-known American-born campaigner for greater Jewish rights to pray at the site, which is known to Jews as the Temple Mount, and known to Muslims as Haram Al-Sharif. It is the holiest site in Judaism, and also contains the Al-Aqsa Mosque – the third holiest site in Islam.

The incidents on Wednesday and Thursday escalated the already brewing tensions between Palestinians and Israelis. Clashes erupted between Israeli security forces and Palestinian youth in East Jerusalem following the incident.