ISRAEL: Israeli-Palestinian tensions escalated after two Israeli sisters were killed in a gun attack in the occupied West Bank and an Italian tourist was killed and five other people were injured in a car ramming in Tel Aviv.
This followed Israeli police raids at Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa mosque and a night of cross-border violence in Gaza and Lebanon. Israel attacked Hamas sites after they were hit by a barrage of rockets, but the fighting stopped on Friday.
The most recent attack happened when a car slammed into a crowd of people on a street next to walking path on a Tel Aviv promenade. The motorist attempted to pull a gun and was shot dead by a nearby police officer.
The attacker was an Arab Israeli citizen from the town of Kafr Qassem, according to a security source in Israel. The two attacks highlighted how tense things are still after many nights of unrest.
Foreign tourists were all the victims of a shooting attack on their automobile near the Jordan Valley Jewish village of Hamra on Friday. Italian Foreign Minister Antonio Tajani stated that one of his countrymen had died and that there may have been additional Italians among the injured.
Benjamin Netanyahu, the prime minister, and Yoav Gallant, the minister of defence, visited the scene, and Netanyahu declared that “our enemies are testing us once more.”
No one claimed responsibility for any of the attacks on Friday, but Hamas, the Islamist organisation in charge of the blockaded Gaza Strip, welcomed them and connected them to the unrest outside the Al-Aqsa shrine.
Israeli police have invaded a mosque twice this week to remove those they claimed had barricaded themselves with the intention of provoking violence. This has caused anxiety and outrage among Israel’s allies, as footage of police assaulting worshippers has sparked outrage across the Arab world.
The Temple Mount, a place in Jerusalem’s Old City that is sacred to both Muslims and Jews, has long been a source of controversy, particularly when Jewish tourists disobeyed a ban on non-Muslim prayer in the mosque compound.
There were clashes in 2021 that contributed to a 10-day war between Israel and Hamas, and neither side appeared eager to continue fighting on Friday as the lull in fighting became longer. Right now, nobody wants an escalation, so silence will be met with silence in the ensuing hours.
The West Bank has experienced a rise in conflict over the past few months, with frequent Israeli raids and rising settler violence amid a wave of Palestinian attacks. Since the year’s beginning, 18 Israelis and foreigners have died, and over 80 Palestinians have been slain by Israeli forces.
In Gaza, the streets were deserted after overnight strikes, with homes and a children’s hospital damaged in the Tufah quarter of Gaza City.
Muhanad Abu Neama, who drives a taxi, said that his family barely escaped Israeli airstrikes that turned their home into mud and rubble. His sisters’ beds were coated in filth, and he had to carry them out one at a time because he could not see.
Palestinians’ aspirations of establishing a sovereign state with East Jerusalem as its capital has diminished due to the international-led peace process’s protracted stagnation. Israel seized East Jerusalem during the Arab-Israeli War of 1967 and annexed it as its capital in a decision that was not accepted internationally.
The new hard-right government in Israel doesn’t want a Palestinian state and wants to build more Jewish settlements in the West Bank. For its part, Hamas rejects living side by side with Israel.
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