Tel Aviv / Gaza (dpa) – New massive rocket attacks by militant Palestinians on Israeli villages have killed at least two people, rescue workers say. Several others were injured on Tuesday, some of them serious.
Police say the dead were Thai people. An attack in the border area with the Gaza Strip hit a house where foreign workers lived.
At an Israeli checkpoint near Ramallah in the occupied West Bank, Palestinian militants and Israeli soldiers fought a firefight on Tuesday. According to the Palestinian Ministry of Health in Ramallah, one person was killed and several dozen others were injured. According to the Israeli army, two soldiers were also injured and taken to hospital. According to the army, armed Palestinians opened fire on soldiers and a commander in the post.
The violence came after thousands of Palestinians in central Ramallah demonstrated against Israeli military attacks in Gaza, and several hundred of them subsequently marched to the checkpoint. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas had repeatedly spoken out against armed clashes with Israel in the past. Observers believe he will instruct his security forces to curb armed Fatah groups. Abbas is estimated to fear that Islamist Hamas could try to overthrow him with another armed insurrection in the West Bank.
As a result of rocket fire from the Gaza Strip, which militant Palestinians started last Monday, 12 people have been killed in Israel and hundreds more injured. The Gaza Health Ministry estimated the number of deaths in Israeli attacks at 213, including 61 children. 1,442 people were injured.
International concern grew over the violence between Israel and the Palestinians, the high number of civilian casualties and the potential spread of the conflict. US President Joe Biden expressed support for a ceasefire. He is increasingly pressured to stand up for an end to the violence. However, in a White House statement, he failed to comply with calls for an immediate ceasefire, including from his own Democratic party. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on a visit to Iceland on Tuesday: “Our goal remains to end the current cycle of violence as soon as possible.”
The US is Israel’s main ally. His Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced on Monday that the attacks in the Gaza Strip would continue. It is a matter of “restoring peace and security to all Israeli citizens”.
French President Emmanuel Macron discussed the crisis with his Egyptian counterpart Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and Jordanian King Abdullah II. As has been said from circles of the presidential office in Paris, a rapid ceasefire is the goal of the diplomatic initiative.
In the discussion about a possible role for the EU in mediation efforts to end the conflict, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas spoke out for a joint commitment with other actors. “One building block of how the EU can get involved is the Middle East Quartet, which is now back in business,” he said, referring to the group from the US, Russia, the United Nations and the EU.
On Tuesday morning, Palestinian militants had initially paused their shelling on Israel for several hours before moving on, mainly in the south of the country. Two border crossings that were opened for assistance, among other things, also came under fire.
According to the military, more than 3,300 missiles have been fired at Israel so far. The air force attacked the homes of Hamas commanders in the Gaza Strip, according to its own statements. Thousands of Palestinians have demonstrated against Israel’s actions in the Gaza Strip in Ramallah in the West Bank.
Six missiles were also fired at Israel from Lebanon during the night, according to the Israeli army. But they all fell on Lebanese territory.
The most recent conflict between Israelis and Palestinians was fueled, among other things, by tensions in Jerusalem. The threat of deportation of Palestinian families in the eastern part of Jerusalem annexed by Israel contributed to the escalation of the conflict; as well as clashes on the Temple Mount (Al-Haram al-Sharif) in the Old City of Jerusalem. The Dome of the Rock and Al-Aqsa Mosque complex is the third holiest site in Islam – and it is also sacred to Jews as it used to house two Jewish temples. Hamas, which ruled the Gaza Strip, has declared itself to be the defender of Jerusalem.