Israeli fire kills 5 Palestinians on Gaza border

Israeli fire kills 5 Palestinians on Gaza border
Five Palestinians have been killed by Israeli fire, only hours after an Israeli suspect stabbed and wounded four Palestinians in southern Israel, as tensions continue to escalate.
4 min read
09 October, 2015
Israeli forces have prevented Palestinians from entering Jerusalem's Old City for their Friday prayer [Getty]
Gaza's Health Ministry says five people have been killed by Israeli fire and about a dozen injured in clashes with Israeli soldiers on the border.

Ahmed al-Hirbawi, Shadi Dawla and Abed al-Wahidi, all aged 20, were killed when soldiers responded after youths threw stones at them on the Israel side of their common border, Gaza medics said.

The fourth victim was Mohammed al-Raqab, 15.

An unnamed 19-year-old youth was killed east of Khan Yunis, in Gaza's south.

The clashes erupted east of Gaza City and east of the southern city of Khan Yunis.

An army spokeswoman said the incident was continuing, adding that about 200 Palestinians had approached the fence while hurling rocks and rolling burning tyres toward security forces.

"Forces on the site responded with fire toward the main instigators to prevent their progress and disperse the riot," she said. The spokeswoman confirmed “five hits” without elaborating.

Israeli security forces also shot and wounded an Arab woman at a bus station in the Israeli town of Afula.

Footage emerged on social media that appears to show the moments of the attack.

Police say the woman, who wore a long robe and headscarf, had pulled out knife with the intention of stabbing a soldier.

The video begins as the woman is surrounded by several members of the security forces, with their weapons pointing at her and yelling.

At one point, a member of the security forces rushes forward, shots ring out and the woman falls to the ground. It's not clear from the footage what she was doing at the exact moment she was shot. Police said she posed an "immediate threat." The woman was taken to a hospital.

Israeli stabs Palestinians

The violence comes only hours after an Israeli suspect stabbed and wounded four Palestinians in southern Israel.

The attack occurred in the city of Dimona and the Jewish suspect was arrested not long after.

The unidentified Israeli reportedly first attacked a 35-year-old Bedouin labourer before fleeing the scene and stabbing another three Palestinian workers, all reported to be in their 50s, Ynet said.

The Bedouin man, a worker with Dimona municipality, was moderately wounded and taken to the Suroka hospital for treatment.

The latest round of violence comes as Israeli police bar young Muslim men from Jerusalem's most sensitive site as a measure to ensure calm after several days of violence.

Spokeswoman Luba Samri said Friday that men under 45 are barred from the al-Aqsa mosque compound.

The age limit has been set intermittently in an attempt to ensure calm as it's mostly younger Palestinians involved in the violence.

Unrest began about three weeks ago as Palestinians repeatedly barricaded themselves inside the al-Aqsa mosque and hurled rocks and firebombs at police.

It was fuelled by Palestinian allegations that Israel plans to change the delicate arrangement at the hilltop compound, holy to Jews and Muslims. Israel has adamantly denied the allegations and accused Palestinian leaders of incitement.

Hamas Gaza chief calls unrest a new 'intifada'

Hamas's chief in Gaza on Friday called the escalating violence that has hit the occupied West Bank and annexed east Jerusalem in recent days an "intifada" and urged further unrest.

"We are calling for the strengthening and increasing of the intifada... It is the only path that will lead to liberation," Ismail Haniyeh said during a sermon for weekly Muslim prayers at a mosque in Gaza City.

"Gaza will fulfil its role in the Jerusalem intifada and it is more than ready for confrontation."

Gaza has been the site of three wars with Israel since 2008, but it has remained mainly calm amid the recent unrest in the West Bank and east Jerusalem.

Last summer's 51-day war between Palestinian militants in Gaza and Israel left more than 2,200 people dead and 100,000 homeless.

Stabbing attacks in the West Bank, Jerusalem and Israel itself along with rioting have raised fears of a third Palestinian intifada, or uprising.

Old City tensions 

Jerusalem's Old City was the site of tensions on Friday as Muslims filed toward the sensitive al-Aqsa mosque compound for the main weekly prayers.

Scuffles broke out as a group of about 50 Jews wearing skullcaps or draped in the Israeli flag walked through the mainly Muslim eastern portion of the Old City toward the Western Wall.

Jews shouted "long live the Israeli people" and some of the women made obscene gestures at Muslims, who responded with shouts of "Allahu Akbar".

Security measures were further tightened Thursday, with six metal detectors set up in the Old City and police stationed on rooftops.

The Jerusalem mayor went as far as to encourage residents who own guns to carry them around with them, even carrying one himself earlier this week while visiting a Palestinian area of the city where clashes have erupted.