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Mideast braces for blowback over Trump's Jerusalem move

The Middle East was braced for violence Thursday, amid warnings about potential fallout from President Donald Trump’s contentious decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

U.S. embassies around the world were on alert for protests after the announcement, which sparked uproar among world leaders and upended decades of American policy.

By 5 a.m. ET on Thursday, there were no signs of serious widespread violence. In Jerusalem, about 20 protesters chanting at the historic Damascus Gate were asked by police to leave.

But Friday, the Muslim holy day, could provide an important test when Palestinians gather for weekly mass prayers.

Powerful Palestinian Islamist group Hamas called for a new intifada — or uprising — against Israel while a prominent Iraqi militia Harakat Hezbollah al-Nujaba, said Trump’s “stupid decision” could become a “legitimate reason” to attack U.S. forces in Iraq.

American flags were burned at protests outside the U.S. Consulate in Istanbul and in Cairo and Gaza City late Wednesday, while Iraq on Thursday summoned the U.S. ambassador in Baghdad over the issue.

The State Department updated its “worldwide caution” advice late Wednesday and sent a internal cable deferring non-essential travel to Israel, Jerusalem and the West Bank from Dec. 4 to Dec. 20, officials told NBC News.

The U.S. Embassy in Jordan said it had “temporarily suspended routine public services” and that “all embassy travel outside Amman, both official and personal, has been prohibited until further notice.”

Trump also said he was putting in motion a move of the U.S. embassy to the holy city from Tel Aviv — a process that aides have said could take several years — by “directing State Department to begin preparations” for the move.




Image: Protesters chant against America outside the U.S. Consulate in Istanbul Wednesday night.

Protesters chant against America outside the U.S. Consulate in Istanbul on Wednesday night.