Jerusalem police disperse Palestinian protest

Israeli police dispersed Palestinian demonstrators after Muslim prayers in Jerusalem on Friday, making three arrests after days of violent protests around the West Bank, a spokeswoman said.

Several dozen demonstrators had gathered in the Issawiya neighbourhood of annexed Arab east Jerusalem, a police spokeswoman said.

Around a dozen suffered minor injuries, an AFP correspondent reported.

Police had deployed reinforcements in Jerusalem early in the day, fearing protests at the flashpoint Al-Aqsa mosque compound in the heart of the Old City, a police spokesman said.

Access by Palestinian men to the compound had been limited to those over the age of 50 and with Israeli-issued Jerusalem residency cards. There were no restrictions on women.

In the southern West Bank city of Hebron, police fired tear gas to disperse a small number of stone-throwing protesters after Friday prayers, an AFP correspondent reported.

The protests were much smaller than those that had rocked the West Bank on previous days since the death of a Palestinian in an Israeli jail on Tuesday of throat cancer that the Palestinian leadership said should have been treated.

Israeli soldiers fired rubber bullets in Hebron on Thursday after angry crowds lined the streets for the funeral of Maisara Abu Hamdiyeh, 63, who had served 10 years of a life sentence for attempted murder.

In the northern West Bank, clashes turned deadly near the village of Anabta close to Tulkarem on Wednesday, with two teenagers shot dead by Israeli troops.

Tony Blair, the envoy of the Middle East peacemaking Quartet, said on Friday that he was "deeply troubled by the loss of life".

"I am concerned about the deteriorating security situation on the ground," Blair said in a statement. "The situation in the West Bank is very volatile, with emotions running high."