Palestine Resistance Update: Israeli Airstrike on Gaza House Kills at Least 7

Associated Press

Hezbollah supporters wave their group, Iranian and Palestinian flags, during a protest in solidarity with Palestinians amid an escalating Israeli military campaign in Gaza, on the Lebanese-Israeli border in front of the Israeli settlement of Metula, background, near the southern village of Kafr Kila, Lebanon, Friday, May 14, 2021. (AP Photo/Mohammed Zaatari)

JERUSALEM (AP) — The Latest on the stepped-up fighting between Israel and Gaza’s militant Hamas rulers (all times local):

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip — An Israeli airstrike on a house in Gaza City has killed at least seven Palestinians.

The airstrike early Saturday in the western part of Gaza City recorded the highest number of fatalities in a single hit.

The militant group Hamas reported the number is likely to rise as efforts to recover casualties from under the rubble of the house on the edge of Shati refugee camp are still ongoing. There was no immediate update from the Health Ministry and its spokesman did not answer calls for comment.

Said Alghoul, who lives nearby, said Israeli warplanes dropped at least three bombs on the three-story house without warning its residents in advance.

“I saw the bodies of four people, including children, being rushed to the hospital,” he said. “I could not endure and ran back to my home.”

He said rescuers called a bulldozer to dig up the rubble as they looked for survivors or bodies.

Shortly afterward, Hamas said it fired a salvo of rockets at southern Israel in response to the airstrike.

JERUSALEM — The Israeli military says it has identified three rockets fired from Syria toward Israeli territory on Friday.

The military said in a statement that one of the rockets landed inside Syria in the evening hours. There was no immediate comment from Damascus.

The incident comes amid a violent escalation between Israel and Gaza’s militant Hamas rulers this week that has been compounded by an eruption of ethnic clashes inside Israel as well and violence in the occupied West Bank.

Israel appears to be looking to inflict intensified damage on the Islamic militant group Hamas, which controls Gaza and has fired hundreds of rockets into Israel.

JERUSALEM — Israeli police are saying that nine people were injured during violent unrest surrounding the arrest of a senior Islamist leader in northern Israel. That’s a higher toll than media reports had earlier.

Four are reported to be in serious condition.

Police said on Friday that during the arrest of Kamal Khatib, officers encountered “violent resistance” from residents who blocked roads, burned objects, threw stones and “opened fire at officers.”

Israel’s public security minister, Amir Ohana, said police and Shin Bet agents made a series of “important arrests” of people responsible for inciting violence there in recent days, including Khatib, the deputy leader of the Northern Branch of the Islamist Movement in Israel.

The group was outlawed by Israel in 2015. Israeli media reported earlier in the evening that five people were injured in the town of Kafr Kanna.

BEIRUT — The powerful Lebanese Hezbollah says a young man killed by Israeli gunfire along the Lebanese-Israeli border was a fighter with the militant group.

The man, 21-year-old Mohammad Tahhan, died of wounds sustained on Friday when he was struck during a protest at the border.

Palestinian and Lebanese youth had gathered in the border area as part of a rally against the Israeli military campaign in Gaza. A small group later breached the fence and crossed the border into Israel, triggering the shooting.

The Israeli military says troops fired warning shots toward the group after they sabotaged the fence and crossed over briefly.

After sunset a dozen protesters still lingered by the fence, prompting tear gas from the Israeli side.

Lebanese President Michel Aoun strongly condemned “the crime committed by Israeli forces” when they opened fire at the group.

JERUSALEM — Israeli media are reporting that five people were injured from gunfire in violent clashes between protesters and police in a northern Israeli town following the arrest of an Islamic leader there.

Police and agents from Israel’s internal security agency, the Shin Bet, arrived in Kafr Kanna to arrest Kamal Khatib, deputy leader of the Northern Branch of the Islamic Movement in Israel, according to Israel’s Channel 12.

Amateur video footage from the town of Kafr Kanna shows Arab protesters throwing rocks at police, who responded with tear gas grenades.

Israel police did not respond to requests for comment.

UNITED NATIONS -- The U.N. chief is appealing for an immediate halt to fighting between Gaza and Israel.

Secretary-General Antonio Guterres warned on Friday that the conflict could “unleash an uncontainable security and humanitarian crisis and to further foster extremism,” not only in the Palestinian territory and Israel but also elsewhere in the region.

A U.N. spokesman said Guterres is urging the parties to allow mediation efforts to intensify and end the fighting more quickly.

Stephane Dujarric says the U.N. is “actively involved” in those mediation efforts.

Guterres also reiterated his commitment to support Palestinians and Israelis in resolving the conflict, including through the so-called Quartet of Middle East mediators — the U.N., the U.S., the European Union and Russia.

RAMALLAH, West Bank — The number of Palestinians killed by Israel in the occupied West Bank has risen to 10.

That’s according to Palestinian health officials after rising tensions signaled a new wave of violence from the Israel-Gaza confrontation. Earlier, seven were reported killed on Friday.

Then the Palestinian health ministry reported the death of an eighth man, shot in the head in al-Rihiya. He was taken to Yatta Governmental Hospital.

Later on Friday evening, health officials said a ninth Palestinian was killed in Salem and a tenth died after being shot by live bullets in the head in Asira al-Qibliya, near the city of Nablus.

Those deaths come hours after after the Israeli army reported that one person was killed after attempting to stab an Israeli soldier. That came after six other Palestinians were killed by Israeli army fire in the occupied West Bank earlier in the day.

The West Bank violence signals a new wave of unrest there as part of the Israel-Gaza escalation.

BEIRUT — A Lebanese police official and the country’s official news agency say a Lebanese protester who was hit when Israeli troops fired shots at the Lebanese-Israeli border has died of his wounds.

The official said the 31-year-old protester died on Friday, a few hours after he was shot at the border where Palestinian and Lebanese youth had gathered as part of a rally against the Israeli military campaign in Gaza.

A small group of them later crossed the border into Israel, triggering the shooting.

The Israeli military says troops fired warning shots toward the group after they sabotaged the fence and crossed over briefly.

There was no immediate comment from Lebanese officials or the military on the incident.

The police official spoke on condition of anonymity in line with regulations.

—Zeina Karam in Beirut

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip — Israeli aircraft have leveled a multistory building housing a bank affiliated with the Hamas militant group in Gaza City. It was the third Hamas bank destroyed in Israeli airstrikes in this week’s deadly escalation and fighting.

The Israeli military also said on Friday that it had struck Hamas weapons production and naval sites in recent strikes on the Gaza Strip.

The Hamas armed wing released a video showing what they said was a drone attack the group launched targeting an Israeli chemical plant near a kibbutz in southern Israel. There was no immediate comment from the Israeli army on the drone attack.

JERUSALEM — The number of Palestinians killed in the West Bank has risen to seven.

The Israeli army says one was killed after attempting to stab a soldier. Palestinian health officials confirmed that death and said six other Palestinians were killed by Israeli army fire in the occupied West Bank.

The health ministry said five were killed in stone-throwing clashes with Israeli forces in several locations, and a sixth was killed during an attempt to stab an Israeli soldier on Friday. A seventh was killed in Nablus.

The West Bank violence comes as Israel unleashed a heavy barrage of tank fire and airstrikes on the Gaza Strip on Friday. Israel said it was clearing a network of militant tunnels ahead of a possible ground invasion. The West Bank violence signals a new wave of unrest there as part of the Israel-Gaza escalation.

PRAGUE — The Israeli flag has been flying over the seat of the Czech presidency.

A spokesman said on Friday that Czech President Milos Zeman has ordered the flag flown over the Prague Castle as “a sign of unequivocal support and solidarity” with Israel during its clash with militant Hamas leaders in Gaza.

It was Zeman’s latest statement of support for Israel during the current round of violence. He had previously stood by Israel in a letter to his Israeli counterpart, President Reuven Rivlin.

The Czech Republic has been one of Israel’s staunchest allies in the European Union.

ISTANBUL — Hundreds of Muslims in Turkey have rallied, urging Palestinians to “continue resistance” against Israel.

They shouted support for militant Hamas leaders on Friday at a symbolic funeral prayer for Palestinians killed in the spate of violence this week between Israel and the Gaza Strip.

About 300 Muslims at the event hollered slogans in Turkish, including “Greetings to Hamas, continue resistance.” They called on Turkish soldiers to go to Gaza to help fight Israel and sang of the domed mosque in contested Jerusalem: “Al-Aqsa will be saved if blood flows in streams.”

Some also waved Palestinian flags and chanted slogans in Arabic.

People in Turkey have been demonstrating against Israel this week, gathering without much interference from the police despite a strict lockdown to curb COVID-19 infections.

JERUSALEM — Israeli defense forces have fired warning shots toward a group of protesters who crossed from Lebanon as part of a rally against the Israeli campaign in Gaza.

The army said some two dozen Palestinian and Lebanese youth had gathered at the border gate separating the two countries for a protest on Friday. A few of those involved crossed the border into Israel.

The Israeli army says the group sabotaged the fence and set a fire in the area before returning to Lebanese territory.

Al-Manar TV station, owned by Lebanon’s militant Hezbollah group, said one Lebanese person was wounded in the incident. The report could not be immediately confirmed. The Lebanese military had no comment.

JERUSALEM — Israel’s army says a soldier has shot and killed a Palestinian who tried to ram his car into a military post in the occupied West Bank, then got out and attempted to stab the soldier.

The incident took place on Friday north of the city of Ramallah in the occupied West Bank. The Palestinian health ministry confirmed the death, but no other details were immediately available.

Rights groups have complained about past shootings of Palestinians by the Israeli military under questionable circumstances.

In recent years, Palestinians have carried out a series of stabbings, shootings and car-ramming attacks that have killed or wounded Israeli soldiers and civilians. Military checkpoints in the West Bank are a frequent target.

The military, responding to criticism of excessive force against Palestinians, say soldiers must make split-second decisions in life-or-death situations.

JERUSALEM — Israeli Justice Minister Benny Gantz has called on the chiefs of big social media platforms to quickly remove content from their sites that incites violence or spreads disinformation.

A spokesman for Gantz said he told executives of Facebook and Tik Tok during a Zoom meeting Thursday that the current round of violence is being “intentionally stirred through social media by extremist elements” sworn to damage Israel.

Gantz called the current round of fighting, “a moment of social emergency, and we expect your assistance.”

The spokesman said the executives expressed their commitment to act quickly and effectively to prevent incitement on their networks.

JERUSALEM — The head of Israel’s Shin Bet says the service won’t tolerate ethnic violence “by Arabs nor by Jews” after nightly clashes this week in some of the country’s cities.

Chief Nadav Argaman said Friday that Shin Bet “will not allow violent lawbreakers to carry out terrorism on the streets of Israel.”

He spoke after consecutive nights of apparent revenge attacks by Arab and Jewish mobs in Lod, Jaffa, Haifa and elsewhere inside Israel.

Argaman said Shin Bet is working with Israeli police and Border Patrol in those mixed cities. The effort is aimed at identifying, catching and prosecuting “whoever tries to hurt Israeli citizens, Jews and Arabs, until peace returns to the streets of the country.”

BERLIN - Chancellor Angela Merkel’s spokesman says Germany won’t tolerate anti-Semitic demonstrations amid tensions in the Middle East.

Anti-Israel protests in several cities this week have drawn concern and condemnation, particularly a protest outside a synagogue in Gelsenkirchen. A video showed dozens of protesters waving Palestinian and Turkish flags and yelling expletives about Jews.

Merkel spokesman Steffen Seibert said Friday that “anyone who uses such protests to scream their hatred of Jews is abusing the right to demonstrate.” He added that “our democracy will not tolerate anti-Semitic demonstrations.”

Seibert said Merkel condemns Hamas’ ongoing firing of rockets at Israel and “nothing can justify such terror.” He said the rocket attacks must stop immediately.

In neighboring Austria, Chancellor Sebastian Kurz tweeted that the Israeli flag was raised over his office on Friday as a signal of solidarity.

DHAKA, Bangladesh — Thousands of Muslims led by activists from an Islamic political party have demonstrated in Bangladesh’s capital to denounce attacks by Israel against Palestinians.

After the end of Eid al-Fitr prayers at Dhaka’s main Baitul Mokarram Mosque Friday, activists from the Islamic Andolan Bangladesh, or Islamic Movement Bangladesh, began protesting and were joined by thousands of others.

Muslim-majority Bangladesh celebrated the key festival in a subdued manner after the government urged people to avoid large gatherings. Authorities arranged prayers in phases at the Baitul Mokarram Mosque, where devotees maintained distancing to avoid spreading the coronavirus.

Afterward, protesters crowded together outside, carrying signs reading “Boycott terrorist state Israel” and chanting “Down with Israel.”

The current eruption of violence between Israelis and Palestinians began a month ago in contested Jerusalem. The clash surged on Monday into the most severe outburst of hostilities since the 2014 Gaza war.

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip — Palestinians living along Gaza’s northern and eastern borders are fleeing intense Israeli bombardment.

Families toting supplies sought refuge on Friday in temporary shelters in central Gaza City as Israeli artillery pounded northern Gaza in an attempt to destroy a vast network of militant tunnels. The assault brought the front lines closer to dense civilian areas and paved the way for a potential ground invasion.

Fleeing families arrived in pickup trucks, on donkeys and by foot at schools run by the United Nations, hauling pillows and pans, blankets and bread. Men lugged large plastic bags and women carried infants on their shoulders, cramming into classrooms.

One mother who fled to a downtown school with her children said “nothing remains for us” back home in the northern town of Beit Lahiya. Her son, Othman, said he had felt the family’s house “shake up and down,” adding that “everyone was running.”

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