Conflicts & War

1 Dead, 5 hurt in car-ramming attack in Israel

Jerusalem, Apr 7 (EFE).- One tourist was killed and at least five others injured Friday night when an Arab citizen of Israel rammed his car into pedestrians in Tel Aviv, authorities said.

An Italian man in his 30s was pronounced dead at the scene and five other people – identified as Italians and Britons – were taken to the hospital, the Magen David Adom (MDA) emergency service said.

Israeli police said that the attacker drove the vehicle onto a seaside promenade and struck two different sets of pedestrians before the car flipped over.

At that point, according to the official statement, police officers responding to the incident noticed that the assailant was reaching for a gun and they fatally shot him.

Media outlets said that the attacker was a resident of the central Israeli town of Kfar Qasem who worked in Tel Aviv.

Earlier Friday, two Israeli women were killed and a third was seriously wounded in a suspected shooting in the northern West Bank.

An MDA spokesman said the incident near the town of Hamra was being investigated as a “terrorist attack,” the terminology used by Israel for attacks by Palestinians.

Preliminary reports from medical and army sources said the women were shot after their vehicle collided with a Palestinian car.

Military officials said that troops spotted “numerous bullet holes” in the women’s car.

Hours earlier, an Israeli soldier was reportedly injured in a shooting incident.

Friday’s attacks occurred in the context of escalating tensions between Israelis and Palestinians over the past several months, which have spiked again in recent days.

In the wee hours of Friday, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) launched airstrikes on targets in Gaza linked to the Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas after 34 rockets were fired into Israeli territory from Lebanon.

“The strikes were carried out in response to Hamas’ security violations in recent days,” the IDF said, referring to previous rocket attacks from Gaza and Thursday major rocket barrage from Lebanon.

The Hezbollah militia controls the southern region of Lebanon, but media outlets reported that Palestinian armed groups operating from refugee camps there were behind Thursday’s attack from Lebanese soil.

On Friday, the IDF struck Hamas positions in south Lebanon.

The rockets from Gaza and Lebanon came in response to assaults by Israeli police on Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa Mosque.

On successive days, Israeli police stormed the sanctuary, using tear gas and stun grenades against worshippers observing the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

More than 30 people were injured and 350 others detained.

The escalation comes on the third Friday of Ramadan – which this year coincides with the Jewish holiday of Passover and Good Friday – a particularly tense day each year in Jerusalem that sees hundreds of thousands of Palestinians come to the Al-Aqsa mosque.

So far this year, 17 Israelis and more than 90 Palestinians have died. EFE jma-pd/ks-dr

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