Home LATEST NEWS Israel launches airstrikes on Gaza after rocket fire

Israel launches airstrikes on Gaza after rocket fire

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Following a closed meeting of the Security Council of theUnited Nations on Israeli-Palestinian violence, five European countries affirmed in a joint declaration that the violence must stop immediately and the status quo of the holy places must be fully respected.

We condemn all acts of terrorism and rocket attacks from Gaza into southern Israeladded Ireland, France, Estonia, Norway and Albania.

Early in the morning, the Israeli army claimed to have bombarded a weapons site of Hamas, an armed Islamist movement in power in the Gaza Strip, a poor territory where approximately 2.3 million Palestinians live under Israeli blockade. The strikes caused no casualties.

The raids followed a rocket fire late Monday from Gaza into southern bordering Israel. The rocket was nevertheless intercepted by the Israeli missile shield.

The violence comes amid ongoing tensions between Israelis and Palestinians, aggravated by four attacks in Israel between March 22 and April 7, which killed a total of 14 people.

In the wake of these attacks, the Israeli army carried out several operations, some deadly, in the West Bank, Palestinian territory occupied by the Jewish state since 1967, in particular in regions from which certain perpetrators of the attacks in Israel originated.

On Tuesday, the Israeli army said it had arrested five people in operations of counter terrorism in the West Bank.

Clashes in the West Bank and injuries in East Jerusalem

In addition, the West Bank village of Burqa was the scene of clashes between the Israeli army and Palestinians protesting a march by nationalist Jews towards the nearby site of Homesh, a settlement evacuated in 2005 and whose settlers demand reconstruction.

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The army fired tear gas and rubber bullets at the protesters, of whom around 50 were treated for gas inhalation, four were injured by tear gas canisters and seven by rubber bullets, according to the Palestinian Red Crescent .

In East Jerusalem, the police did not allow a march by right-wing Israeli nationalist organizations around the Old City, for fear of slippage.

Masked protesters and tear gas smoke.

Clashes on the esplanade of the Mosques

Photo: afp via getty images / AHMAD GHARABLI

More than 150 Palestinians were injured in clashes with Israeli forces on Friday and Sunday at the Al-Masjid compound in East Jerusalem, violence that coincided with the Jewish Passover holiday and the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

The Esplanade of the Mosques is the third holiest site in Islam, but also the holiest place in Judaism under its name of Temple Mount. During Ramadan, it welcomes tens of thousands of Muslim faithful daily and it is also visited by Jews at specific times.

But the presence of Jews during Ramadan and especially the intervention of Israeli forces on the esplanade against Muslim worshipers aroused the anger of the Palestinians.

We can’t stay silent anymore

Last year, after violence in East Jerusalem in which hundreds of Palestinians were injured by Israeli police, Hamas launched salvoes of rockets into Israel. A spark that sparked a deadly 11-day war between Hamas and the Israeli army.

On Monday, Islamic Jihad threatened an escalation. We can no longer remain silent in the face of what is happening in Jerusalem and the West Banksaid Ziad al-Nakhalé, the leader of this Palestinian movement which, according to Israeli intelligence, has thousands of fighters and rockets in Gaza.

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Faced with the risk of escalation, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan warned, during a telephone interview with his Israeli counterpart Isaac Herzog, against the threats weighing, according to him, on the status of the esplanade of the Mosques. He is necessary not to allow provocations and threatshe said.

Mr. Herzog said his country was seeking to maintain the status quo and freedom of worship.

The United Arab Emirates summoned the Israeli ambassador to protest against attacks targeting civilians in East Jerusalem and the forays of the Israeli police on the esplanade.

Seeking to calm the situation, Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Tuesday called Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and his Israeli counterpart Yair Lapid.

Two demonstrators in front of thick smoke.

Palestinian protesters in the village of Burqa in the northern occupied West Bank.

Photo: dpa via getty images / JAAFAR ASHTIYEH

Reaction responsible and measured from Israelaccording to Lapid

Mr. Lapid highlighted, according to his office, the reaction responsible and measured Israel in the face of riots by hundreds of Muslim extremists.

A little later, the US State Department claimed that Mr. Blinken had asked both sides to show detention and of refrain from any act or statement that fuels the escalation of tensions.

Antony Blinken reiterated to Mr. Lapid the unwavering support of the government American to the security of Israel and condemned the recent rocket attacks from Gaza. To the Palestinian president, he reaffirmed the United States’ commitment to improving the quality of life of the Palestinian people in concrete ways.

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