March 16th, 2010
06:06 AM ET

Palestinians riot to protest reopening of synagogue

Palestinians hurled rocks and burned tires in several neighborhoods in disputed East Jerusalem Tuesday to protest the reopening of a landmark synagogue after 40 years.

Officers dispersed the crowd by firing stun grenades in one area, and village elders helped end the riots in another, said police spokesman Mike Rosenfeld.

At least seven people in the Mount of Olives neighborhood were wounded when police fired rubber bullets. In all, 49 people were wounded in the clashes, the Palestinian Red Crescent Society said.

About 3,000 officers were deployed in the city after the militant group Hamas declared Tuesday a "Day of Rage." The group was protesting the reopening of the Hurva synagogue on Monday.

The synagogue was destroyed during the 1948 Arab-Israeli War.

In a speech Monday in Syria, senior Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal said Palestinians need to take to the streets to protect Jerusalem and its Islamic and Christians shrines.

He also warned the international community that Israel is "playing with fire" that could lead to a regional blowup.

Palestinians also have been angered by Israel's announcement last week about the building of 1,600 housing units in the Ramat Shlomo neighborhood in largely Arab East Jerusalem.

The Palestinian National Authority called the recent moves by the Israeli government "part of increasing provocative policies violating international law and human rights."

Speaking to reporters Monday, U.S. State Department spokesman Philip Crowley said there were American concerns "about the tensions regarding the rededication of a synagogue in the Jewish quarter of the Old City. And we are urging all parties to act responsibly and do whatever is necessary to remain calm."

- CNN's Kevin Flower contributed to this report.

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soundoff (2 Responses)
  1. Frank

    I'm really trying to make sense of this because to be honest it just doesn't make any sense!. While this synagogue was in ruins everything seems to be ok, it was blown up to pieces and now it's been rebuilt after so many years. It's a place of worship for God sake!, not a nuclear facility...

    March 26, 2010 at 3:00 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Alex

    Funny how things turn out,
    This place of worship prooves that Israel has claim over east Jerusalem as well as west, but lucky us for president Obama cooperating with arab world reather than with it's allies.

    March 27, 2010 at 5:51 am | Report abuse |