Two Palestinian teens are shot dead by Israeli police – one after stabbing two people – as thousands of Muslims flocking to Jerusalem during Ramadan

Two Palestinian teens were shot dead by police, one after stabbing two people, as thousands of Muslims flock to Jerusalem during Ramadan. 

A 19-year-old man was shot dead after he allegedly stabbed two Israeli civilians near the Damascus Gate on Friday – one was critically wounded, the other was in a stable condition.

Later, Abdullah Ghaith, 16, was killed as he tried to scale the heavily fortified separation barrier from Bethlehem into Jerusalem, the police said. 

Tens of thousands of worshippers were flocking to Jerusalem‘s Al-Aqsa Mosque for noon prayers on the last Friday in the holy fasting month of Ramadan.

Ghaith‘s father, Louai Ghaith, said his son had been trying to enter Jerusalem to pray at Al-Aqsa Mosque for the holy day.

Ghaith‘s body was brought to a Bethlehem hospital, where his distraught family identified him.

‘He was going to fulfil his religious duty, he was going to worship,‘ Ghaith said. ‘They killed him… with a bullet to his heart, like a game, and 16 years I‘ve been raising him.‘

In a separate event, Israeli police said they shot dead the 19-year-old Palestinian suspected of carrying out two stabbings near the bustling main entrance to the predominantly Palestinian part of the Old City.

Police said one Israeli was in critical condition, while the second was in moderate condition. The suspect, police added, was shot by security forces while running through the Old City‘s Muslim quarter.

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The stabbings occurred just hours before busloads of Muslim worshippers were to arrive from both Israel and the West Bank for Friday prayers at Al-Aqsa Mosque, located in the Old City. 

COGAT, the Israeli defence body responsible for Palestinian civilian affairs, said it eases tight movement restrictions on Palestinian residents of the West Bank travelling to Jerusalem for Friday prayers at Al-Aqsa Mosque.

Women of all ages can enter for the occasion, as well as men over the age of 40 who undergo a background check.

Younger Palestinian men must request an entry permit from the military, which are difficult to obtain.

In other countries across the Middle East, rallies are set to take place Friday to mark Quds, or Jerusalem Day, an annual event held on the last Friday of Ramadan.

This year‘s protests come as the Trump administration is pushing an Israeli-Palestinian peace plan whose details remain unknown.

On Sunday, Israel marks its own ‘Jerusalem Day,‘ when it celebrates capturing the Old City in the 1967 Mideast war and annexing it.

Tensions run high during the holiday, as a nationalist Israeli marches pass through Damascus Gate and the Muslim quarter. Israeli police said the area would be heavily patrolled to keep the parade from erupting into violence, as has happened in the past.

Most of the international community has not recognised Israel‘s annexation of the eastern part of the city, which the Palestinians claim as their capital for a future state.

Jerusalem is the third holiest site in Islam, after the cities of Mecca and Medina in Saudi Arabia.

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