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Palestinian protesters clash with Israeli troops in West Bank, Gaza

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RAMALLAH — US President Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital sparked Palestinian protests, clashes and a call for a new intifada on Thursday as fears grew of fresh bloodshed in the region.

At least 31 people have been injured by Israeli army gunfire and rubber bullets, medics say, in Palestinian protests in the occupied West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

In the West Bank cities of Hebron and Al-Bireh, thousands of demonstrators rallied with chants of “Jerusalem is the capital of the state of Palestine”, according to media reports.

Soldiers had used “riot-dispersal gear” against hundreds of rock-throwers, a military spokeswoman said.

The Israeli military has deployed hundreds more troops to the occupied West Bank amid uncertainty over the fallout, while clashes between Palestinians and Israeli security forces erupted in various areas.

Israeli forces dispersed several hundred protesters with tear gas at a checkpoint at the entrance to Ramallah, while the Palestinian Red Crescent reported dozens wounded from tear gas, rubber bullets and live fire in the West Bank.

In the Gaza Strip, dozens of protesters gathered near the border fence with Israel and threw rocks at soldiers on the other side.

Palestinian authorities called a general strike in protest at Trump’s announcement about Jerusalem on Wednesday.

The leader of the Hamas militant group, which runs Gaza, called for a new armed uprising in a widespread show of anger, as the demonstrators torched American and Israeli flags.

Trump’s announcement also prompted an almost universal diplomatic backlash that continued on Thursday, with fresh warnings from Turkey, the European Union and Russia.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu however lavished praise on Trump, saying his name would now be associated with Jerusalem’s long history and urging other countries to follow his lead.

In a speech in Gaza City, Hamas leader Ismail Haniya called for a new intifada, or uprising.

Protests were held in West Bank cities including Ramallah, Hebron and Nablus, as well as in the Gaza Strip.

Agencies

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Maldives opposition legislator Ibrahim Mohamed Solih wins presidency

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MALE — Maldives opposition legislator Ibrahim Mohamed Solih has beaten incumbent Abdulla Yameen according to provisional results, the country’s Elections Commission says.

Results released by the Elections Commission showed Mr Solih securing 133,808 votes (58.3 percent) compared to the 95,526 for incumbent Abdulla Yameen. The voter turnout was over 88 per cent out of the 262,000-strong electorate.

The Maldives government has acknowledged the opposition’s victory after the vote on Sunday, a surprise defeat for President Abdulla Yameen who was widely expected to win.

There were no other candidates.

Mr Solih had the backing of a united opposition trying to oust Mr Yameen, but struggled for visibility with the electorate, with local media fearful of falling afoul of heavy-handed decrees and reporting restrictions.

“I call on Yameen to respect the will of the people and bring about a peaceful, smooth transfer of power,” Solih said on television, shortly after interim results from the country’s election commission.

“We have won this election with a comfortable majority,” Solih said.

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