Gulf Today

Israeli strikes on Gaza kill more Palestinia­ns

Arab League says Israel had provoked an earlier escalation in violence by its actions in Jerusalem and atacks in Gaza were a ‘miserable show of force at the expense of children’s blood’; hospital fills up ater clashes


A confrontat­ion between Israel and Palestinia­ns sparked by weeks of tensions in contested occupied Jerusalem escalated on Tuesday as Israel unleashed new airstrikes on Gaza.

Since sundown on Monday, 28 Palestinia­ns — including 10 children and a woman — were killed in Gaza, most by airstrikes, health officials there said. In a sign of widening unrest, hundreds of residents of Arab communitie­s across Israel staged overnight demonstrat­ions denouncing the recent actions of Israeli security forces against Palestinia­ns. It was one of the largest protests by Palestinia­n citizens in Israel in recent years.

Two women were killed by rockets fired from Gaza that hit their homes in the southern city of Ashkelon — the first Israeli deaths in the current violence.

Ater those deaths, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said officials decided to “increase both the strength and rate of the strikes” against Hamas and Islamic Jihad in the Gaza Strip.

Late on Tuesday, Israeli airstrikes have demolished a 12-storey building in Gaza City that housed the offices of top Hamas officials.

A gathering of representa­tives of Muslim nations has condemned Israel for the outbreak of violence in the Al Aqsa Mosque compound.

The emergency meeting of the 57-member Organisati­on of Islamic Cooperatio­n (OIC) was held on Tuesday in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, to present a unified response from the Muslim world to the soaring tensions between Israel and the Palestinia­ns and the latest violent confrontat­ions in Jerusalem.

In a communiqué, the meeting denounced Israel’s “continuous violations” of the sanctity of Al

Aqsa Mosque, “barbaric atacks” against worshipper­s and movement restrictio­ns on Palestinia­ns at the compound. It said that it considered the Israeli actions a “provocatio­n of the feelings of Muslims around the world and serious violation of internatio­nal law.”

It called on the internatio­nal community to hold Israel liable for the escalation and to press it to halt atacks that threaten “the security and stability of the region.” It also reaffirmed the long-standing Arab stance of support for an independen­t Palestinia­n state with east Jerusalem as its capital.

The head of the Arab League (AL) has blamed Israel for the escalation of violence in the Palestinia­n territorie­s, warning that Israeli policies would blow up the situation in Jerusalem.

Ahmed Aboul Gheit, secretary-general of the 22-member organisati­on, spoke on Tuesday as Arab foreign ministers were meeting to discuss the latest bout of violence between the Palestinia­ns and Israelis.

He decried what he called Israel’s provocativ­e practices in the Al Aqsa Mosque compound and the planned eviction of Palestinia­n families from Sheikh Jarrah neighbourh­ood in east Jerusalem.

“What we have witnessed is, clearly and frankly, a provocatio­n by the Israeli occupation, that targeted the holiest Islamic sanctities, at the most sacred time,” he said, referring to the Holy

Month of Ramadan. He urged the UN Security Council to take action.

Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan has denounced Israel’s use of force against Palestinia­ns.

Imran said that he had asked his foreign minister to contact his Turkish and Saudi counterpar­ts to discuss how to collective­ly respond. Earlier, Pakistan’s foreign minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi at a news conference urged the world community to take notice of Israel’s use of force against innocent Palestinia­ns worshipper­s.

Dozens of Pakistanis have rallied in Karachi to condemn Israel’s use of force against the Palestinia­ns.

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres said on Tuesday that escalating violence between Israel and the Palestinia­ns must stop immediatel­y.

“Israeli security forces must exercise maximum restraint and calibrate their use of force,” Guterres said in a statement. “The United Nations is working with all relevant parties to de-escalate the situation urgently,” Guterres said. US calls on Israel, Palestinia­ns to end ‘deeply lamentable’ civilian deaths.

Egypt’s top diplomat says he has conveyed messages to Israel and other nations to help deescalate the outbreak of violence in Jerusalem and the Palestinia­n territorie­s.

Arab and Muslim footballer­s have been expressing support for Palestinia­ns in recent days, including on social media, amid clashes between Israeli security forces and protesters in Israeli-annexed east Jerusalem.

Dozens of Palestinia­ns, including 10 kids, killed in air raids; Arab League, OIC, Pakistan PM slam Israeli actions in Jerusalem, Gaza; Israel-palestinia­n violence must stop, says UN chief; Arab, Muslim footballer­s express support for Palestinia­ns.

The head of the Arab League condemned on Tuesday deadly Israeli air strikes on the Gaza Strip as “indiscrimi­nate and irresponsi­ble” and said Israel had provoked an earlier escalation in violence by its actions in Jerusalem.

The violence began with confrontat­ions between Palestinia­n protesters and Israeli security forces at Al Asqa Mosque in the heart of Jerusalem’s walled Old City on the compound known to Jews as Temple Mount and to Muslims as the Noble Sanctuary.

“Israeli violations in Jerusalem, and the government’s tolerance of extremists hostile to Palestinia­ns and Arabs, is what led to the ignition of the situation in this dangerous way,” Arab League chief Ahmed Aboul Gheit said in a statement.

The atacks in Gaza were a “miserable show of force at the expense of children’s blood,” he said.

Aboul Gheit called on the internatio­nal community to act immediatel­y to stop the violence, saying continuing “Israeli provocatio­ns” were an affront to Muslims on the eve of the Eid holiday at the end of the holy month of Ramadan.

Arab League foreign ministers are holding a virtual meeting on Tuesday to discuss the situation in Jerusalem.

Violent clashes escalated sharply on Monday when Israel launched air strikes on Gaza ater Palestinia­n militant groups fired rockets close to Jerusalem.

Health officials in Gaza said at least 20 people, including nine children, were killed.

Amnesty Internatio­nal said Israel is using “abusive and wanton force against largely peaceful Palestinia­n protesters” in east Jerusalem clashes that have wounded hundreds of demonstrat­ors and dozens of police.

Israel on Tuesday firmly defended the conduct of its officers, insisting they have responded to violent Palestinia­n rioters with appropriat­e measures.

But the London-based human rights group described some of those measures as “disproport­ionate and unlawful,” accusing security forces of “unprovoked atacks on peaceful demonstrat­ors.”

Amnesty’s statement came amid surging tension in Israeli-annexed Jerusalem, much of it concentrat­ed at the flashpoint Al Aqsa mosque compound, Islam’s third holiest site.

At Al Aqsa and in clashes elsewhere in east Jerusalem, police used stun grenades, rubber bullets, tear gas and skunk water cannons in response to Palestinia­ns who hurled stones, botles and fireworks at officers.

Amnesty said Israel has used excessive force over multiple weeks of east Jerusalem protests.

In one incident, it said Israeli forces last week broke up a peaceful circle of Palestinia­ns chanting against an atempt by Israelis to evict them from their homes in the city’s Sheikh Jarrah district.

Forces on horseback sprinted toward the crowd, trampling a man who was trying to run away, Amnesty said. The rights group called on the internatio­nal community “to hold Israel accountabl­e for its systemic violations.”

The Israeli police did not respond to specific allegation­s, but told AFP in an email: “We will not allow disturbanc­e of order while harming the fabric of life, inciting to harm police forces and violence against police officers and civilians.”

Police commission­er Kobi Shabtai told Israeli N12 TV on Monday that in Jerusalem in recent days “we showed too much restraint.”

“We are at the stage of taking off the gloves,” he said.

Clashes on Monday let more than 500 Palestinia­ns wounded, while 37 officers were injured.

Amid the Jerusalem violence, Palestinia­n militant groups in Gaza fired more than 200 rockets towards Israel, including seven directed towards Israel.

Israel responded with more than 130 strikes on what it described as military targets in Gaza.

Health authoritie­s in Gaza reported at least 22 deaths, including nine children.

The group Save the Children, also based in London, said it was “horrified” by the Israeli air strikes and demanded a stop to “the indiscrimi­nate targeting and killing of civilians.”

Israeli army spokesman Jonathan Conricus said Israel “was doing everything possible to limit collateral damage” and he said there was no confirmati­on Israeli strikes had impacted Gaza civilians.

 ?? Agence France-presse ?? Smoke billows after an Israeli bombing of the Hanadi compound in Gaza City on Tuesday.
Agence France-presse Smoke billows after an Israeli bombing of the Hanadi compound in Gaza City on Tuesday.
 ?? Agence France-presse ?? An injured Palestinia­n girl receives medical care at the Al Shifa hospital after an Israeli air strike in Gaza city on Tuesday.
Agence France-presse An injured Palestinia­n girl receives medical care at the Al Shifa hospital after an Israeli air strike in Gaza city on Tuesday.

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