JERUSALEM: A Jewish settlement guard shot dead a Palestinian after rocks were thrown at his car on Wednesday, setting off clashes with police in a tense neighbourhood in annexed Arab east Jerusalem.
"A guard responsible for protecting Jewish residents of the neighbourhood opened fire with his pistol after his car was attacked with stones," police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said.
Witnesses said another two Palestinians were wounded in the shooting, and at least five other Palestinians were later injured as police fired rubber bullets and tear gas at stone-throwing protesters.
The guard had opened fire after his car was stopped at a barricade Palestinians had set up. He was later detained for questioning, Rosenfeld said.
The man killed was identified as Samir Serhan. Rosenfeld said he had been detained in the past for "participation in unrest."
Palestinian residents and local officials said it was not clear what sparked the violence, which erupted before dawn.
"We were awakened by the sound of gunfire at 4:00 am (0200 GMT) and when we came down we found Samir’s body on the front steps… The police would not let us come near him," a cousin of the victim, Samih Serhan, said.
He said the family was told they would be able to recover the body of Samir, a father of five, from a police station later in the day.
Silwan, a crowded neighbourhood where a few dozen Jewish families live in a guarded enclave surrounded by 12,000 Arab residents, is one of the most volatile areas of east Jerusalem, which Israel occupied in 1967 and later annexed in a move not recognised by the international community.
Plans to demolish Palestinian homes to make way for an archaeological park have triggered violent protests in the past.
The Jerusalem city council gave the green light in June for the controversial project which would be under the control of Elad, a group dedicated to expanding Jewish ownership in east Jerusalem.
Under the plan, 22 homes would be razed, while another 66 would be legalised.
The park is planned on what is believed to be the site of ancient Jerusalem during the reigns of the biblical kings David and Solomon. It is just outside the walls of the Old City, which contain some of the holiest sites in Judaism, Christianity and Islam.
Wednesday’s shooting highlighted the challenges Israeli and Palestinian negotiators face in peace talks which resumed on September 2 after a 20-month hiatus.
The fate of Jewish settlements and the future status of east Jerusalem have bedevilled peace efforts since the early 1990s.
The international community considers Israeli settlements in the West Bank, including east Jerusalem, to be illegal.
The Palestinians want a freeze on all settlement construction but are also pushing for the renewal of a partial moratorium on settlement building that will end within days, even though it does not include east Jerusalem.
Israel does not consider Jewish residents of east Jerusalem to be settlers as it views the entire Holy City as its "eternal and indivisible capital."