Palestinians Hurt in Israeli Attack

Two Palestinians have been shot and wounded by an Israeli man in occupied East Jerusalem.

The man opened fire late on Friday after Palestinians began throwing stones in the Silwan neighbourhood of Jerusalem, police said.

"Two Arabs were wounded in the legs at Silwan when an Israeli man shot them with his pistol after being attacked by a group of six stone-throwers," Mickey Rosenfeld, the Israeli police spokesman, told the AFP news agency.

"The two wounded were taken to Makassed hospital" in the east of the city, he said.

Shmuel Ben-Ruby, another Israeli police spokesman, said that a 13-year-old boy was among the casualties, who were lightly wounded.

He said police arrested the armed man at the scene.

The future status of predominantly Arab East Jerusalem has been a key issue in stalled peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians.

Israel annexed East Jerusalem and declared the whole city its capital after the 1967 Middle East war, a move not recognised by the international community.

The Palestinians want East Jerusalem as the capital of a future independent state and have accused Israel of trying to alter the social make-up of the area by destroying Palestinian homes and building Jewish settlements.

George Mitchell, the senior US envoy to the Middle East, was due to arrive in the region on Saturday for a fresh round of talks aimed at restarting the peace process.

Negotiations have been stalled since the Israeli military launched its 22-day offensive in the Gaza Strip in December last year.

His visit comes ahead of reports of a possible meeting between Binyamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister, Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian president, and Barack Obama, the US president, at the UN General Assembly later in September.

(Aljazeera.net English)

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