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Angry worshippers lash out against Trump across Muslim world

  • Israeli soldier stands during clashes with Palestinians following a protest against U.S. President Donald Trump's decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel in the West Bank City of Nablus, Friday, Dec. 8, 2017. (AP Photo/Majdi Mohammed) Majdi Mohammed

  • Palestinians clash with Israeli troops following a protest against U.S. President Donald Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel in the West Bank City of Nablus on Friday. AP

  • Palestinians clash with Israeli troops during a protest against U.S. President Donald Trump's decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel in the West Bank city of Bethlehem, Friday, Dec.8, 2017.(AP Photo/Nasser Shiyoukhi) Nasser Shiyoukhi

  • Muslim men burn portraits of U.S. President Donald Trump during a rally against his decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital in Banda Aceh, Indonesia, Friday, Dec. 8, 2017. Hundreds of people across the most populous Muslim country staged protests Friday against Trump administration's policy shift on the contested city. (AP Photo/Heri Juanda) Heri Juanda

  • The Saint Georges Cathedral, illuminated by a giant projection of the Church of Holy Sepulchre, in down town Beirut, Lebanon, Thursday, Dec. 7, 2017. A number of U.S. allies in the Middle East are condemning the Trump administration's decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, with the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Qatar and Saudi Arabia urging Washington to reconsider and reverse the announcement. (AP Photo/Bilal Hussein) Bilal Hussein

  • Palestinians hold a placard with the picture of U.S. President Donald Trump during a protest in Athens, on Friday, Dec 8, 2017. Several hundred Palestinians living in Greece, backed by Greek leftist demonstrators, protested the U.S. decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and move its embassy to the contested city. (AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris) Petros Giannakouris

  • Palestinian protesters burn tires and clash with Israeli troops following protests against U.S. President Donald Trump's decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, in the West Bank city of Ramallah, Friday, Dec. 8, 2017. (AP Photo/Nasser Nasser) Nasser Nasser

  • Palestinian protesters stand on a hill during clashes on the Israeli border following a protest against U.S. President Donald Trump's decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, east of Gaza City, Friday, Dec. 8, 2017. (AP Photo/Adel Hana) Adel Hana



Associated Press
Friday, December 08, 2017

Large crowds of worshippers across the Muslim world staged anti-U.S. marches Friday, some stomping on posters of Donald Trump or burning American flags in the largest outpouring of anger yet at the U.S. president’s recognition of bitterly contested Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

In the holy city itself, prayers at Islam’s third-holiest site dispersed largely without incident, but Palestinians clashed with Israeli troops in several dozen West Bank hotspots and on the border with the Gaza Strip.

Israeli warplanes struck Hamas military targets in the Gaza Strip Friday in response to a rocket fired from the zone that Israel’s military said was intercepted by its Iron Dome missile-defense system.

The Palestinian health ministry said at least 15 people were injured in Friday’s air strikes.

Earlier, a 30-year-old Gaza man was killed by Israeli gunfire, the first death of a protester since Trump’s dramatic midweek announcement. Two Palestinians were seriously wounded, health officials said.

Dozens of Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza were hit by live rounds or rubber-coated steel or inhaled tear gas, the officials said.

Trump’s pivot on Jerusalem triggered warnings from America’s friends and foes alike that he is needlessly stirring more conflict in an already volatile region.

The religious and political dispute over Jerusalem forms the emotional core of the Israeli-Arab conflict. The ancient city is home to major Muslim, Jewish and Christian shrines and looms large in the competing national narratives of Israelis and Palestinians.

Trump’s decision on Jerusalem is widely seen in the region as a blatant expression of pro-Israel bias, but it was unclear if protests and confrontations would maintain momentum after Friday. More extensive violence has erupted in the Palestinian areas in the past, including deadly bloodshed triggered by disputes over Jerusalem.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah movement and other groups had called for three “days of rage” this week. However, Abbas remains an opponent of violence, saying it’s counterproductive and that he might at some point order his security forces to contain protests.

Separately, Fatah’s rival, the Gaza-based Islamic militant Hamas, called this week for a third uprising against Israel, but such appeals have fizzled as Palestinians become more disillusioned with their leaders.

On Friday, demonstrators in the West Bank torched heaps of tires, sending columns of thick black smoke rising over the cities of Ramallah and Bethlehem. Palestinian stone-throwers traded volleys in the streets with soldiers firing tear gas and rubber bullets. Along the Gaza-Israel border fence, Israeli troops fired at stone-throwers.

Across the region – from Asia’s Indonesia, Malaysia and Pakistan to North Africa’s Algeria and Lebanon in the Levant – thousands of worshippers poured into the streets after midday prayers to voice their anger. Some protesters burned U.S. and Israeli flags or stomped Trump posters that showed the president alongside a Nazi swastika.

In Jordan’s capital of Amman, thousands marched through the center of town, chanting “America is the head of the snake.”

Pro-Western Jordan is a crucial U.S. ally in the fight against Islamic extremists, but King Abdullah II cannot afford to be seen as soft on Jerusalem. His Hashemite dynasty derives its legitimacy from its role as guardian of the Al Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem, Islam’s third-holiest site.