Angry clashes erupted in the West Bank Thursday as the Middle East braced for violence over President Donald Trump’s contentious decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
In Bethlehem, Israeli police fired tear gas to disperse demonstrators while Palestinians set tires alight and threw rocks in Ramallah. In Jerusalem, about 20 chanting protesters at the historic Damascus Gate were ordered to leave by police.
There were no immediate reports of injuries. But Friday, the Muslim holy day, could provide an important test when Palestinians gather for weekly mass prayers.
Powerful Palestinian Islamist group Hamas called for a new intifada — or uprising — against Israel while a prominent Iraqi militia Harakat Hezbollah al-Nujaba, said Trump’s “stupid decision” could become a “legitimate reason” to attack U.S. forces in Iraq.
American flags were burned at protests outside the U.S. Consulate in Istanbul and in Cairo and Gaza City late Wednesday, while Iraq on Thursday summoned the U.S. ambassador in Baghdad over the issue.
The State Department updated its “worldwide caution” advice late Wednesday and sent a internal cable deferring non-essential travel to Israel, Jerusalem and the West Bank through Dec. 20, officials told NBC News.
The U.S. Embassy in Jordan said it had “temporarily suspended routine public services” and that “all embassy travel outside Amman, both official and personal, has been prohibited until further notice.”
In the Baqaa refugee camp on Amman’s outskirts, hundreds of Palestinians roamed the…