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Israeli forces fatally shoot two Palestinians in West Bank

In Jerusalem, Israeli forces blocked Muslim worshippers from entering Al-Aqsa Mosque
Mohammed Shaheen's death comes amid heightened tensions in the Al-Aqsa compound in East Jerusalem (AFP)

Israeli forces have fatally shot two Palestinians in the occupied West Bank, as tensions continued to escalate in Jerusalem.

Mohammed Shaheen, 22, was killed on Tuesday after Israeli forces shot him in the heart in the town of Salfit, near Ramallah, a spokesperson from the Palestinian health ministry said.  

Clashes had erupted after a large number of Israeli soldiers raided the village to take footage from surveillance cameras. Israeli forces fired tear gas and rubber-coated steel bullets at residents, wounding 40 people, according to Palestinian news agency Wafa. 

An Israeli army spokesman told AFP: "Dozens of Palestinians took part in a violent riot, during which they hurled rocks at Israeli soldiers, who responded with riot dispersal means."

Earlier in the day, Israeli forces shot dead another Palestinian man in Hebron after he allegedly ran at Israeli troops with a knife. 

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Yasser Shweiki, 27, bled to death after he was left injured on the ground as Israeli forces prevented Palestinian medics from reaching him, Wafa, reported. 

The two deaths come amid mounting tensions at the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in East Jerusalem. 

On Tuesday, Israel's military police shut down the compound and blocked Muslim worshippers from entering the holy site after a police station was targeted with a firebomb. 

Israeli forces assaulted workers at the compound and arrested five men and three women, Wafa reported.

The confrontations come after a weeks-long stand-off over Bab al-Rahmeh and Bab al-Tawbeh, two areas used by Muslims to pray inside Al-Aqsa compound.

The areas had been off-limits to Muslim worshippers after an Israeli court unilaterally ordered them shut in 2003.

However, in February, Palestinians broke the Israeli locks and reopened the gates to pray within their walls.

Palestinians see Israeli restrictions on the areas as an attempt to cut them off from the rest of the Al-Aqsa compound.

On Tuesday, UN envoy to the Middle East Nickolay Mladenov called for restraint in Jerusalem.

"I am following events at the holy esplanade in #Jerusalem with concern," he wrote on Twitter. "Places of worship are for prayer, not for provocations and violence. Restraint must be shown to avoid inflaming an already tense situation. The status quo must be fully respected by all."

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