Jerusalem row ignites Beirut violence as protesters clash with police outside US embassy

Jerusalem row ignites Beirut violence as protesters clash with police outside US embassyProtesters clashed with police outside the US embassy in Lebanon on Sunday amid an on-going fall-out from Donald Trump's recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital. Demonstrations outside the embassy in Beirut grew violent with some protesters throwing stones and burning US and Israeli flags as Lebanese security forces fired tear gas and water cannon. Lebanon’s Shiite group Hezbollah has reacted strongly to the US decision on Israel, backing calls for a new Palestinian uprising against Israel.  Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah also called for a protest against the decision in the Hezbollah-controlled southern suburbs of Beirut on Monday. It followed comments from a high-ranking Israeli politician who said that Arabs who violently protested President Trump's decision are "not part of us" and called for a boycott of their businesses. Protesters are seen near the U.S. embassy in Awkar, in Beirut Credit: REUTERS/Mohamed Azakir The statements by defence minister Avigdor Lieberman, made Sunday morning on Israel's Army Radio, are part of an ongoing wave of reverberations following Mr Trump’s contentious Wednesday announcement. Mr Lieberman today called on Jewish Israelis to no longer visit the Arab villages of Wadi Ara and to cease buying any products sold there.  A group of demonstrators gather near the police barricades to enter US embassy in Beirut Credit: Furkan Guldemir/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images Mr Lieberman's comments may serve to deepen the divide between Israel’s Jewish and Arab communities at a time when the few strands holding them and the two-state solution together have never been more fragile. Israel’s prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu took a similarly offensive tack on Sunday, saying he was ready to stand up to any European critics on the matter of Jerusalem. Protesters are sprayed with water near the U.S. embassy in Awkar east of Beirut Credit: REUTERS/Mohamed Azakir Departing for a diplomatic mission to Paris, which vocally protested Mr Trump’s declaration, Mr Netanyahu said he "will present Israel's truth without fear and with head held high". In a separate development, a military spokesman said Sunday that Israel’s military has destroyed a Hamas tunnel burrowed from Gaza hundreds of yards into Israel. It is the second Gaza tunnel destroyed in six weeks by the Israeli military and comes amid seething tensions over Donald Trump’s decision to recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.  Jerusalem – Israel The tunnel began in Khan Younis in the central Gaza strip and snaked underground across the border into Israel, said Lt Col. Jonathan Conricus, a spokesman for the Israeli Defence Forces (IDF).  He said that no Palestinians had been killed in the destruction of the tunnel, as far as the IDF was aware. At least 12 Palestinian militants from both Hamas and the Islamic Jihad group were killed when the last tunnel was destroyed in October.  Lt Col Conricus said the tunnel destruction was “not part of the same situation” as the unrest that followed that followed Mr Trump’s announcement and the two were “separate events”.  About | The two-state solution The discovery of the tunnel was made possible by “a new system” which was significantly enhancing Israel’s ability to detect tunnels from the Gaza strip, he said.  “I’m cautious of saying that we’re over the threat but this is a significant step forward improving security against terror tunnels emanating from Gaza,” he said. Israel has invested heavily in technologies to detect the underground tunnels but has kept its systems secret.  He said the IDF “does not seek to escalate the situation” with Hamas. Two Hamas fighters were killed by an Israeli airstrike on Saturday launched in response to rockets fired from Gaza. Two other Palestinian men were shot dead during clashes in Gaza on Friday.   “We are defending Israeli sovereignty and will continue to do so,” Lt Col Conricus said. He said the tunnel was very substantial and communications systems, air vents, electricity and reinforced concrete. 

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