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Israel advances East Jerusalem settler plans; Fatah warns of 'an explosion'

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Israel advances East Jerusalem settler plans; Fatah warns of 'an explosion'


Benjamin Netanyahu’s government has advanced plans to build over 1,000 new settler homes in East Jerusalem, officials say – a move set to further raise tension in the city at the heart of the Israeli-Palestinian dispute.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah Party has warned that building new settlements will trigger “an explosion”.

Israelis and Palestinians clashed for a fifth night running in East Jerusalem on Sunday, ahead of the funeral of the Palestinian man who drove a car into a crowd at a tramway stop last week, killing a baby and a young woman.

The driver, Abdel-Rahman Shaloudi, 21, was killed when police shot him after he got out of the car and tried to flee. Seven other people were injured. His family insist the incident was a traffic accident. Police say it was a terrorist attack.

Tensions have risen in Shaloudi’s east Jerusalem neighbourhood since a group of Jewish settlers moved in there last month in the biggest purchase of homes by Jews for decades in the largely Palestinian-inhabited area.

The funeral has also been held for a Palestinian-American teenager shot dead during clashes between stone-throwing youths and security forces on Friday.

Orwah Hammad, 14, was shot in the head in the village of Silwad, north of the Palestinian seat of government in Ramallah.

The Israeli army says he was wielding a petrol bomb. Washington wants a full investigation.

After the death of the three-month-old baby, also a US citizen, in Wednesday’s car crash at the tramway, Israelis have gathered to mourn a 22-year-old tourist from Ecuador who has died of her injuries.

Mutual acrimony has risen since the July-August war between Israel and Hamas militants in Gaza that killed more than 2,000 Palestinians – mostly civilians – and over 70 Israelis, almost all of them soldiers.

US-mediated peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians collapsed in April.

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