Violent clashes between Israeli police and Palestinians have broken out in Jerusalem, after Hamas announced a "day of rage."
Hamas was angered by the reopening of a synagogue in Jerusalem's Old City, fueling Palestinian fears that the restoration of the Hurva synagogue would endanger a nearby mosque. Hamas rival Fatah urged Muslims to rush to the al-Aqsa mosque, the most sensitive of Muslim sites in the divided city.
Police responded to protests with tear gas and rubber bullets. Some 40 Palestinians needed medical treatment and 31 were arrested. "We have come to throw stones because that's all we have and the situation in Jerusalem is dangerous," one protester told Reuters.
Police Commissioner David Cohen ruled out a third intifada. "We are seeing signs of disorderly conduct," said Cohen, "but that is only a headline. We must be careful about characterizations and remarks being made."
The violence comes after the U.S. canceled a visit by envoy George Mitchell to the area after Israel announced plans for construction in East Jerusalem. Last week the U.S. called the announcement of 1,600 new apartments in the sensitive area during Vice President Joe Biden's visit "insulting".