Israel PM vows 'fight to death' as clashes spread

Netanyahu announced a package of new measures 'to prevent terror and deter and punish the attackers'

Israel PM vows 'fight to death' as clashes spread

World Bulletin / News Desk

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu pledged "a fight to the death" against what he calls "Palestinian terror" as clashes spread after two deadly attacks, while Jerusalem's Old City was illegaly closed to Palestinians for a second day Monday.

The Israeli premier's comments late on Sunday came as he convened security chiefs immediately after landing back from the United States to discuss the clashes in east Jerusalem and the West Bank.

Palestinian youths throwing stones and firebombs have faced off against Israeli security forces using both live ammunition and rubber bullets. Jewish settlers have also attacked Palestinians.

Threatening to further stoke the flames, Israeli troops shot dead an 18-year-old Palestinian during clashes in Tulkarem in the West Bank on Sunday, Palestinian police and medics said. Dozens of others have been wounded.

There have been fears that the sporadic violence could spin out of control, with some warning of the risk of a third Palestinian intifada, or uprising.

Netanyahu, facing pressure from right-wing members of his governing coalition to respond forcefully, announced a package of new measures "to prevent terror and deter and punish the attackers".

They included swifter demolition of the homes of those accused of attacks, broader use of detention without trial for suspects, and police and troop reinforcements for Jerusalem and the West Bank.

He also spoke of using restraining orders to keep "inciters" away from the flashpoint Al-Aqsa mosque compound, the site of repeated clashes in recent weeks.

Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas, who said in a UN speech last week that he was no longer bound by previous accords with Israel, accused the Israeli government of escalating tensions.

It was not clear what Abbas's UN declaration would mean in practice, including whether he would act to end security cooperation with Israel.

Early on Monday, Israel carried out an air strike on the Gaza Strip in response to a Palestinian rocket attack from the territory, an army statement said. No casualties were reported from either side.

Last Mod: 05 Ekim 2015, 12:00
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