An Israeli airstrike on a home in Gaza killed a pregnant Palestinian woman and her 2-year-old child Sunday, a Gazan official said, as weeks of violence between Israel and Palestinians escalated from the West Bank to the Gaza Strip.
Israel’s military said it carried out airstrikes in Gaza targeting Hamas weapons manufacturing facilities in response to renewed rocket fire toward Israel, the Associated Press reported.
Gaza Health Ministry spokesman Ashraf Al-Kidra said 30-year-old Noor Hassan and her toddler daughter were killed in a strike. He said four other people were wounded, including Hassan’s husband and son, the AP reported.
In the West Bank, a Palestinian woman was critically injured after a bomb detonated in her car after she left the vehicle, police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said. He said a police officer was slightly injured in the attack. It was the first use of explosives in the current round of violence, which has mainly been confined to stabbings and shootings.
Recent days have seen a series of attacks by young Palestinians wielding household items like kitchen knives, screwdrivers and even a vegetable peeler.
Addressing his Cabinet on Sunday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the country was battling a “wave of terror” fueled by “systematic, untrue incitement” by the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank and the Islamic Movement in Israel. He said he will hold consultations to discuss sanctions against the Islamic Movement, which runs education and religious services for Arab citizens of Israel.
He said the Islamic Movement, along with Hamas and the Palestinian Authority, is responsible for “spreading lies” about Israel’s supposed intentions regarding a sensitive holy site in Jerusalem that is sacred to both Muslims and Jews, and singled out an Arab lawmaker — Hanin Zoabi — who he said called on hundreds of thousands of worshipers to ascend to the site to prevent an “Israeli plot of bloodletting of east Jerusalem residents,” according to the news agency.
Netanyahu said it amounted to incitement to violence and that he asked the attorney general to open a criminal investigation against Zoabi, the AP reported.
Hamas, branded a terrorist group by Israel and the United States, governs Gaza.
New polling released by the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey showed rising discontent among Palestinians. With no progress toward creating an independent state, two-thirds of Palestinians are demanding that Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, who governs the West Bank, step down. A clear majority now favors a return to an armed rebellion or intifada. the last one left 3,000 Palestinians and 1,000 Israelis dead over five years before it ended in 2005.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry spoke separately Saturday with Netanyahu and Abbas, expressing concerns over the recent wave of violence and offering assistance in restoring calm, the State Department said.
Contributing: Gregg Zoroya
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