More Palestinians killed in Israeli fire

  • 10/10/2015
Palestinians clash with Israeli border police during clashes at a checkpoint between Shuafat refugee camp and Jerusalem (Reuters)
Palestinians clash with Israeli border police during clashes at a checkpoint between Shuafat refugee camp and Jerusalem (Reuters)

By Adel Zaanoun

A week of violence between Israelis and Palestinians has spread to the Gaza Strip, with Israeli troops killing six in clashes on the border and Islamist movement Hamas calling for more unrest.

A fresh wave of stabbings also hit Israel and the West Bank on Friday, including a revenge attack by a Jewish suspect that wounded two Palestinians and two Arab Israelis.

The Gaza Strip had been mainly calm as unrest has shaken annexed east Jerusalem and the occupied West Bank in recent days.

But clashes broke out on Friday east of Gaza City and Khan Yunis along the border with the Jewish state, with Israeli forces opening fire and killing six Palestinians, including a 15-year-old, and wounding 80, according to medics.

Hundreds of Palestinians, some with their faces covered by keffiyeh scarves, defied the soldiers by making victory signs and throwing stones.

It was the deadliest clash in Gaza since the summer 2014 war with Israel.

"Forces on the site responded with fire toward the main instigators to prevent their progress and disperse the riot," an army spokeswoman said.

Palestine Liberation Organisation secretary general Saeb Erekat accused Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his government of "committing a new massacre of Palestinians" in Gaza.

The clashes came as Hamas's chief in Gaza called the spreading violence an intifada, or uprising, and urged further unrest.

In a sermon for weekly Muslim prayers at a Gaza City mosque, Ismail Haniyeh said "we are calling for the strengthening and increasing of the intifada".

"It is the only path that will lead to liberation," he said.

Stabbing attacks in the West Bank, Jerusalem and Israel itself along with rioting have raised fears of a third Palestinian intifada, following a first that began in 1987 and a second in 2000.

Those two conflicts left some 5000 Palestinians and about 1100 Israelis dead.

Hamas rules Gaza, squeezed between Egypt and Israel and separated from the West Bank. It remains deeply divided from Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas's Fatah party.

The enclave has been hit by three wars with Israel since 2008.

The 50-day conflict between Palestinian militants in Gaza and Israel in 2014 left more than 2200 people dead and 100,000 homeless.

Friday's escalation came as Israeli security forces sought to prevent the further spread of Palestinian unrest, with Netanyahu having said the country faced a mostly unorganised "wave of terror".

Abbas has spoken out against violence and in favour of "peaceful, popular resistance", but many youths are frustrated with his leadership as well as Israel's government.

Fresh clashes between Palestinians and Israeli security forces broke out Friday (local time) in various parts of east Jerusalem and the West Bank, including near Ramallah after the funeral of Mohannad Halabi, a 19-year-old killed after allegedly stabbing two Jews to death in Jerusalem's Old City on Saturday.